Man Accused In Fatal Punch, Robbery Ordered To Stand Trial - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Man Accused In Fatal Punch, Robbery Ordered To Stand Trial

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A man accused of robbing and punching a 67-year-old female hotel desk clerk, who died the next day, must stand trial on murder and other charges, a judge ruled today.

Brian Lefler, 30, faces 25 years to life if convicted, said Deputy District Attorney Summer Stephan.

Vista Judge Harry Elias ruled after an all-day preliminary hearing that sufficient evidence was presented to order Lefler to stand trial on charges of murder, kidnapping for robbery, robbery, elder abuse and false imprisonment of an elder.

The judge set a readiness conference for June 18 and trial for July 9.

According to the prosecution, Lefler punched Barbara Novelich in the face while robbing the Tamarack Beach Resort in Carlsbad about 4:10 a.m. last Nov. 16.

Stephan alleges that Lefler pushed the victim to the ground and pulled her under a desk, demanding to know the location of the safe.

Lefler allegedly took $300, demanded the victim's car keys and got away in her car.

Novelich was treated at a local hospital for three facial fractures, but was not admitted. She was found dead on her houseboat in Oceanside the next day from acute cardiac complications stemming from her facial injuries, Stephan said.

Lefler -- who was on probation for theft and burglary convictions at the time -- was apprehended four days after the attack in Oceanside after a lengthy foot chase, police said.

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