A man accused of killing his 73-year-old grandmother in her Alpine mobile home pleaded not guilty today, as did his alleged accomplice, to charges that could lead to the death penalty.
Brandon Allen Hayes, 26, and Jeffrey Carl Reed, 20, are charged with the murder of Eunice Cothron, who was found dead May 16 at her home in the 2400 block of Alpine Boulevard.
A cause of death for Hayes' grandmother has not been announced.
"The two defendants went into the victim's home and killed her, and stole a lot of her things and money," Deputy District Attorney Kurt Mechals alleged outside the courtroom.
The defendants were arrested five days after the murder when they tried to re-enter the country from Mexico at the San Ysidro Port of Entry.
Hayes' father placed himself squarely behind the prosecution when he spoke to reporters.
"I always believed (Brandon) had no conscience," Alan Hayes said.
The younger Hayes used to have a lot of family support. But by the time of the murder, the victim was the last person who still tried to help him, his father said.
He said his son had drug problems and went through rehab several times but always returned to his addiction.
Barbara McRae, the defendant's aunt, said she was relieved her nephew was caught.
"He blew it," McRae said. "He had so many chances with so many family members."
The defendant's stepmother, Carmen Hayes, said he had "terrorized" the family ever since he was a little boy.
"He always had malice in his heart," she said.
The family members said they did not know Reed, who had no family of his own in court.
According to Mechals, Reed was on probation for robbery and burglary at the time of the murder. Hayes also has prior convictions, but they weren't listed on court documents, and the prosecutor was unable to recall the details.
Attached to the murder count for both defendants are special circumstance allegations of murder during the commission of a robbery and murder during the commission of a burglary, making them eligible for execution if convicted.
Members of the Hayes family said they were in support of either the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The defendants are also charged with robbery, burglary and carjacking. Hayes is separately charged with auto theft for allegedly selling Cothron's car to drug dealers prior to her murder.
Judge Charles Ervin denied bail for both defendants and scheduled a readiness conference for June 5 and a preliminary hearing for June 9.
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