Prelim. for ex-con accused in home invasion robbery - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Prelim. for ex-con accused in home invasion robbery

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A preliminary hearing has been rescheduled for Thursday for an ex-con accused of participating in a violent home-invasion robbery at the residence of Metropolitan Transit System Board Chairman and former San Diego City Councilman Harry Mathis.

Harvey Henry Duson, a 45-year-old parolee, pleaded not guilty last month to eight charges, including kidnapping for robbery. He is being held in lieu of $1 million bail and faces 115 years to life in prison if convicted.

The judge in the case will decide at the end of the preliminary hearing whether the prosecution has presented enough evidence to warrant ordering Duson to stand trial.

Mathis, his wife and a neighbor were assaulted in the couple's University City home on Jan. 11. Around 9 that night, a man in a ski mask confronted Mathis, 78, moments after he returned home from an outing. Police said the armed intruder demanded cash, and a struggle ensued.

During the struggle, Mathis, who has a concealed firearm permit, pulled out his own pistol and fired two shots at the intruder, both of which missed.

The intruder then wrestled Mathis' gun away and beat him over the head with it, police said.

A passing neighbor, who heard the gunfire, went to check on Mathis and his wife and was dragged inside the house by masked intruders, police said, noting there were two or three intruders in total.

Around the same time the neighbor was being accosted, Mathis' 77-year-old wife was being forced at knifepoint to open a safe before being locked in a bathroom. A short time later, Mathis and his neighbor also were forced into the bathroom, police said.

A few moments after that, the victims managed to get out of the bathroom and discovered two small fires had been set in the residence -- one in the garage and another in the kitchen. Firefighters arrived and doused the flames.

Mathis was taken by ambulance to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries to his head and face. His wife and neighbor were not hurt.

Police said a "minimal amount" of property was taken in the robbery.

It was not clear what led investigators to identify Duson as a suspect in the case. He was released from state prison about year ago after serving half of a 32-year sentence for an armed robbery in Lemon Grove.

Duson was arrested in Arizona in February following a high-speed pursuit, a day after he eluded California law enforcement.

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