Spring Valley man sentenced to 16 years for murder

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Michael Dean Mifflin, 59, of Spring Valley, was sentenced Aug. 11 to 16 years and four months in state prison for killing his roommate, Mary Watson, 62, on Aug. 12, 2014 in the home he shared with his girlfriend.

Watson was temporarily staying with Mifflin and his girlfriend, who was her friend, but Mifflin did not like her. She was beaten to death with a baseball bat and also stabbed multiple times.

Michael Dean Mifflin, 59, of Spring Valley, was sentenced Aug. 11 to 16 years and four months in state prison for killing his roommate, Mary Watson, 62, on Aug. 12, 2014 in the home he shared with his girlfriend.

Watson was temporarily staying with Mifflin and his girlfriend, who was her friend, but Mifflin did not like her. She was beaten to death with a baseball bat and also stabbed multiple times.

Mifflin was ordered to pay approximately $3,000 in funeral expenses by El Cajon Superior Court Judge Patricia Cookson. Mifflin pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and mayhem and he received credit for a year in jail. A murder charge was dropped.

Mifflin’s girlfriend found her friend’s body at 6:45 p.m. and called sheriff’s deputies who arrived at the home in the 600 block of Parkbrook St. in Spring Valley. Watson was in the process of moving and would have left the very next day. 

Former Dehesa Elementary teacher on trial for 12-felony county of molestation

A former teacher at Dehesa Elementary School is on trial for 12 felony counts of molesting eight girls from 2003-2006. His attorney told jurors he did not touch any of his former students and plans to testify in the month-long trial.

Opening statements in the trial of Robert Noel Anderson, 59, were given Aug. 12 to a jury of eight women and four men and El Cajon Superior Court Judge Lantz Lewis. Nine witnesses had testified by Friday.

Deputy District Attorney Chantal De Mauregne said the girls were between the ages of 9-11 at the time and their “lives were changed by that man.” She said all of the girls kept the alleged molestation secret for some time.

“He was their teacher and he had a position of trust and that trust violated when he touched them,” said De Mauregne to jurors.

All eight girls sat on Anderson’s lap in the classroom with all the students present and he is alleged to have fondled them during that time. They are all now adults. The school is located in unincorporated El Cajon.

After the first girl’s accusation in January 2004, Anderson was placed on administrative leave. He later resumed teaching with an aide in the room, and he resigned in 2006 after more accusations surfaced.

Anderson’s attorney, Kerry Armstrong, told jurors all the girls voluntarily sat on his lap in the classroom full of students, but no one witnessed the alleged molestation. Armstrong said five girls lived on the same street and he suggested they might have compared stories.

After the first girl alleged she was fondled, the sheriff’s department investigated and a detective took photos of the desk, and the chair, but those photos have since been lost, said Armstrong. The desk and the chair are also lost, and Armstrong said the detective took measurements of the chair that indicated Anderson could not have held girls in his lap and fit in the chair.

Anderson will testify and will deny the accusations, said Armstrong. He said he would present testimony from expert witnesses on “false memories and witness suggestibility.”

Anderson was arrested Sept. 11, 2014, and charges were filed. Several former students came forward after they learned of his arrest, and new charges were added. He has pleaded not guilty and remains in the Vista Detention Facility on $800,000 bail.

Spring Valley man sentenced to 16 years for murder