SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Two men accused of stabbing three fellow transients, who were targeting while sleeping in front of the downtown library, must stand trial on premeditated attempted murder charges, a judge ruled Tuesday.
Juan Alberto Prado, 27, and James John Rivas, 59, each face life imprisonment if convicted, said Deputy District Attorney Adam Gordon.
One of the victims, Salil Slaughter-Cook, testified that Rivas was making noise with a stick against a wrought iron fence about 3:30 a.m. on May 30 and he asked him to be quiet.
Rivas came across the street and poked him with the stick, according to Slaughter-Cook, who said he responded by punching Rivas to the ground on E Street near Ninth Avenue.
When Rivas got up, he pulled out a knife and said "I'll be back," the witness testified.
About 15-20 minutes later, Slaughter-Cook said he was awakened by yelling and saw Rivas on top of another transient, Timothy Monroe.
"He (Rivas) was stabbing at him with the knife," Slaughter-Cook testified.
He said Rivas told Monroe, "You did me dirty. I'm going to kill you."
Slaughter-Cook said he jumped on Rivas, punched and bit him, and felt a stab in the back. He identified Prado as the man who stabbed him.
Prado and Rivas were arrested nearby a short time later. Both were on probation at the time, authorities said.
Slaughter-Cook was treated at a hospital for a collapsed lung, Monroe had lacerations to his arms and left side of his head, and a third transient, Wilbur Moats, had a scratch on his finger after he was allegedly attacked by Prado with a knife in his sleeping bag, according to testimony.
"I said, What did I do?" Moats testified, "He said, "You did something to my compadre."'
Moats said Prado was enraged, but he couldn't understand why.
Superior Court Judge Charles Rogers ruled that enough evidence was presented at the preliminary hearing to order Rivas and Prado to stand trial. Arraignment is set for July 31.