SAN DIEGO (CNS) - An ex-con accused of attacking former San Diego City Councilman Harry Mathis at his University City home and forcing him to open a safe at gunpoint must stand trial on 10 charges, including kidnapping for robbery, false imprisonment and burglary, a judge ruled Friday.
Harvey Henry Duson, 45, is also accused of robbing two sales representatives at a Sprint phone store on Rosecrans Street two months before the break-in at the Mathis home.
After a two-day preliminary hearing, Superior Court Judge John Einhorn ruled that enough evidence was presented for Duson to proceed to trial for the Mathis break-in Jan. 11 and the robbery at the Sprint store last Nov. 9.
He faces up to 165 years to life in state prison if convicted.
Mathis, now 79, testified Thursday that he was attacked about 9 p.m. by two men as he got out of his car in his garage.
"They were yelling, `Where's the cash?"', Mathis recalled.
Mathis -- who said he was legally carrying a concealed firearm because of two previous break-ins at his home -- testified that he struggled with one of his attackers over the gun, but couldn't get a clean shot at the assailant.
Mathis, a former chairman of the Metropolitan Transit System board, said he fired two quick shots into the air in hopes neighbors might hear and call 911.
He said he gave up the fight over his gun when one of the attackers hit him hard in the head, with what he thought was the butt of another gun.
Mathis said he was ordered to strip down to his underwear and taken at gunpoint to open a safe in a back bedroom. The witness said his wife and a neighbor were inside.
Mathis said he struggled to open the walk-in safe and his assailant grew anxious.
"He said, 'Hurry up or I'll shoot,"' and also threatened to "torch the place," Mathis testified.
Mathis said he thought the intruders were after his gun collection and was surprised to learn they wanted cash, which he didn't keep in the safe.
He said the intruders put him, his wife and neighbor into a bathroom and left, but not before setting fire to some clothes in the kitchen and to one of the cars in the garage.
The victim said the attack happened the day before his 79th birthday.
"Actually, it's the best birthday I've ever had," Mathis told prosecutor Martin Doyle. "I lived to see it."
Duson -- who was released from state prison last year after serving half of a 32-year sentence for an armed robbery in Lemon Grove -- was arrested in Arizona in February following a high-speed pursuit, a day after he eluded California law enforcement.
Witnesses testified that DNA found on Mathis' car and other items in the home matched Duson's DNA.
DNA taken from a black sock used to tie up the victims in the Sprint store robbery also came back to Duson, said Deputy District Attorney Martin Doyle.
A Superior Court arraignment was set for June 4.
In San Diego, the "Great American Eclipse" will have maximum visibility at 10:23 a.m. Monday, August 21. Southern California residents will have about 60 percent darkness at that time.
With just a week to go, many people across the U.S. are buzzing about the "Great American Eclipse."
Hundreds of people rallying against illegal immigration and counter-protesters opposing their stance were squaring off today along the shore at Broadway and Pacific Coast Highway in Laguna Beach.
The San Diego LGBT Community Center and other social justice groups held a rally against hate in response to the Alt-Right rallies held across the country in recent days.
A whale watching boat spotted a whale four miles off the coast of Point Loma entangled in fishing line.
A man was seriously injured when he was struck by a hit-and-run motorist in the Mira Mesa community of San Diego, a police officer said Sunday.
Temperatures are expected to be about average over the next week throughout San Diego County with the warmest temperatures in that period expected over the weekend.
San Diego Gas & Electric officials said they expect to lose about 500 megawatts of solar energy production during tomorrow's solar eclipse, but they expect to have enough power on hand to meet demand.
Jerry Lewis, the manic, rubber-faced showman who jumped and hollered to fame in a lucrative partnership with Dean Martin, settled down to become a self-conscious screen auteur and found an even greater following as the tireless, teary host of the annual muscular dystrophy telethons, has died. He was 91.