EL CAJON (CNS) - A man accused of beating the 75-year-old owner of an El Cajon jewelry store with the blunt end of a hatchet during a robbery must stand trial on attempted murder, robbery and other charges, a judge ruled Wednesday.
Travis Scott Kelley, 24, of San Diego, faces life in prison if convicted.
The alleged getaway driver in the robbery, 21-year-old Ali Armeen Toombs, was also ordered to stand trial on robbery, assault and burglary charges after a preliminary hearing before El Cajon Judge John Thompson.
El Cajon police allege Kelley attempted to buy merchandise from Hamlin Jewelers at 2234 Fletcher Parkway just before 3:30 p.m. Jan. 22, but the credit card he used was denied, and he became enraged.
He allegedly pulled out a hatchet and beat the shopkeeper with the hammer end of the hatchet, then stole a small-caliber handgun the business owner had pulled in self-defense, according to El Cajon police Lt. Walt Miller.
Kelley then allegedly ran from the store and jumped into a waiting Toyota 4Runner driven by Toombs.
Arriving police found the wounded shopkeeper. His handgun appeared to have been the only item stolen during the crime, Miller said.
El Cajon police Lt. Frank La Haye said the victim's injuries were more severe than originally thought and he was hospitalized with stable vital signs.
On Jan. 23, detectives stopped the 4Runner based on witness statements and a partial license plate number and arrested Toombs, La Haye said.
Detectives identified Kelley as the suspected hatchet-wielding assailant and with the help of the San Diego Regional Fugitive Task Force, he was arrested on Jan. 24 in Ocean Beach.
A readiness conference was set for May 7.