El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Neal Putman

Jury deliberations continued this week in the murder trial of an Alpine man who is accused of killing his girlfriend's 18-month-old daughter.

The nine man, three woman jury began deliberations late Friday after a full day of closing arguments in the trial of Wiliey Foster Jr., 28, who is charged with killing Leah Rose Brown-Meza.

Foster did not testify. His emotional 911 call was again played to the jury and El Cajon Superior Court Judge Robert Amador. 

The mother of an 18-month-old daughter who died in an Alpine mobile home testified Friday she believed her ex-boyfriend was responsible for her death.

Lillie Golden Brown, 22, of Alpine, testified as a prosecution witness against her ex-boyfriend, Wiliey Kevin Foster, Jr., 28, who is on trial for the murder of Leah Rose Brown-Meza.

Brown admitted to using methamphetamine in the past before her daughter died on Dec. 6, 2016 where the mobile home was parked in Alpine where Foster’s parents live.

A judge on Friday set an April 13 sentencing for the “Chameleon Bandit” after a jury convicted him of 11 robberies of tellers and one customer at two El Cajon banks and elsewhere.

Deputy District Attorney Lucille Yturralde said Darius Demon Lake, 29, of El Cajon, faces a maximum sentence of 125 years to life because he is a “third strike” defendant due to his prior convictions of robbing three banks.

A Lake Murray man whose letter said he hates himself for shooting his girlfriend to death while she was holding their baby was sentenced Feb. 1 to 35 years to life in prison.

The parents and sisters of Vanessa Marie Bobo, 29, spoke out about their loss of their family member at the sentencing of Rodrick Lamar Harris, 33, who did not look at them at San Diego Superior Court.

An El Cajon man was ordered Jan. 23 to stand trial for the beating death of his mother and attempted murder of his brother in 2015.

Erik Enrique Margain, 37, was held to answer for the May 17, 2015 slaying of his mother, Martha Margain-Velarde, 63, and injury to Carlos Margain, who suffered broken ribs in the 5:30 p.m. assault in the home in the 1900 block of Hidden Crest Drive in El Cajon.

A March 20 preliminary hearing is set Jan. 16 for a man suspected of trying to kill his estranged wife in the parking lot of a Santee restaurant. Travis Sterling Haddix, 27, is accused of attempted murder in the Nov. 20, 2017, incident at 2:09 p.m. in which Heather Haddix, 25, was stabbed four times.

Two Santee brothers were given long terms in state prison Friday for beating a homeless man to death in 2016 in the San Diego River bottom in Santee.

Austin Larry Mostrong, 22, received 20 years to life in prison for his guilty plea to second-degree murder for the slaying of George Lowery, 50, who was found hogtied and under plywood boards on April 24, 2016.

A Lake Murray man pleaded guilty Jan. 3 to second-degree murder in the 2016 shooting death of his girlfriend who was the mother of his infant son.

Rodrick Lamar Harris, 33, admitted to killing Vanessa Marie Bobo, 29, who was shot twice around 1 a.m. on Oct. 12, 2016 in their apartment in the 6400 block of Lake Arrowhead Drive.

A prosecutor confirmed Dec. 29 a case involving the stabbing death of a 19-year-old man in an El Cajon park is a gang related case.

Kyle Chawin Khamphan was stabbed Dec. 12 at 750 East Park, and he later died at Grossmont Hospital. A 17-year-old boy was also stabbed and was hospitalized. Another person also had minor injuries.

Richard James Gunner, 24, of Santee, was given an April 4, 2018 trial date in the murder of Brandon DeGuzman, 21, who was shot to death outside his El Cajon home in 2016.

Gunner was held to answer for murder following a preliminary hearing conducted by El Cajon Superior Court Judge Robert Amador on Dec. 14.

DeGuzman was found deceased on Sept. 24, 2016 at 6:30 a.m. on a sidewalk in the 500 block of Danny Street in unincorporated El Cajon. He had been shot in the face.