SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Two men accused in the slaying of a City Heights man during a fracas in a Chollas Creek-area neighborhood several months ago pleaded not guilty to murder charges Wednesday and were ordered held without bail.
Francisco Jose Arellano, 32, of Chula Vista and Michael Vincent Reyes, 29, of El Cajon were already in custody for alleged parole violations when they were re-booked Monday on suspicion of murdering 34-year-old Michael Hallman, according to SDPD Lt. Ernie Herbert. Arraignment took place Tuesday afternoon in Superior Court.
Shortly after 5:30 a.m. on Sept. 30, patrol officers responding to a report of an assault in the 5000 block of Sterling Court found Hallman in front of a home in the area, suffering from several stab wounds. Medics took him to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead about an hour later, Herbert said.
The lieutenant declined to disclose what led detectives to identify Arellano and Reyes as the alleged killers. Herbert also would not comment on a suspected motive, though he said the victim and suspects apparently got into a fight during a social gathering of some kind.
The defendants will be back in court Dec. 28 for a readiness conference and Jan. 2 for a preliminary hearing.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled Tuesday for a former San Diego police officer accused of groping four women during pat-down searches last year.
Chula Vista police will be looking for drivers talking or texting on cell phones Tuesday and through the end of the month as part of "Distracting Driving Awareness Month."
Police were on the lookout Tuesday for the man who fired a shot while robbing a Rolando-area smoke shop and his accomplice who emptied its cash register.