Trial ordered for ex-con accused of running down, killing man in - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Trial ordered for ex-con accused of running down, killing man in Spring Valley

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Jason Palmer is seen on the left in this video screen image. Jason Palmer is seen on the left in this video screen image.
Jacob Greenwald Jacob Greenwald

EL CAJON (CBS 8/CNS) - An ex-con accused of running down a 20-year-old man walking home from work in Spring Valley was ordered to stand trial Wednesday on charges of gross vehicular manslaughter and hit-and-run causing death.

Palmer is charged in the October 27 death of Jacob Greenwald in Spring Valley. He was arrested a few hours later in Serra Mesa. Palmer faces 20 years in prison if convicted.

Greenwald's life was taken moments after he left his late night shift at work. Reliving it was a nightmare for Kenneth Lewis, who testified in court Wednesday.

He's the man who found the 20-year-old's body. Authorities say it was Jason Palmer who was behind the wheel that night and sped off. He sat in court stoic, much different from the man we saw several weeks ago when he was arrested.

Palmer faces charges of gross vehicular man slaughter and hit and run. In court Wednesday we heard from a number of witnesses, including several investigators. But some personal insight came from the suspect's friend who says Palmer came to his home the morning of the incident.

"He was just trying to tell me that he did something wrong and... he hit something and he wasn't sure what it was," Oscar Flores said.

He says the two then drove by the scene where Palmer ditched the SUV he was in. When he saw police investigating, that's when he says Palmer got scared.

"(Palmer said) 'I think I may have hurt someone bad or something,'" Flores said. "I told him, 'You messed up,"' and would be in more trouble for leaving the scene, Flores said, adding that he suspected Palmer was intoxicated at the time of the collision.

The witness said he told Palmer to turn himself in, but Palmer said he was scared and didn't know what to do.

At Palmer's arraignment last month, prosecutor Cally Bright said the defendant has been to prison three times -- for attempted robbery, receiving stolen property and possessing a vehicle that didn't belong to him -- and was recently released from custody. Palmer subsequently was released from some sort of halfway house, according to the prosecutor.

Judge Patricia Cookson ruled that enough evidence was presented at the preliminary hearing for Palmer to proceed to trial. A Superior Court arraignment was set for Nov. 27.

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