El Cajon, CA
Clear sky
Clear sky:
71.6 °F

Articles by Neal Putnam

A Lakeside man will stand trial March 5 for attempted murder for intentionally trying to hit a pedestrian on an El Cajon sidewalk.

The incident occurred June 2, 2018, when David William Dunkel, 38, struck a man who was walking with a woman in the 1100 block of East Madison Avenue at 1:19 p.m.

The white station wagon also struck a light pole. The injured man was taken to a hospital.

A Jan. 24 preliminary hearing has been set for a Lemon Grove man who is accused of running over his girlfriend in Jamul in a rented SUV.

Bernadette Castillo, 46, of Lemon Grove, was killed July 27 when Rontarieo Deshaun Brown, 36, allegedly struck her after she got out of the vehicle on state Route 94 near Steele Canyon Road.

Brown got out of a red SUV and attempted to wake her up, saying “don’t you die on me,” according to witnesses in Brown’s arrest warrant declaration.

A federal judge sentenced a 20-year-old El Cajon man Dec. 17 to nine years and four months in federal prison for sex trafficking of a minor.

“Damages done to these young girls last a lifetime,” said U.S. District Court Judge Roger Benitez, adding that the online prostitution business the defendant was running was like selling “a piece of meat.”

Denziel S. Burke pleaded guilty March 15 to sex trafficking of a 14-year-old girl whom he had advertised online and drove her to sexual encounters with men who answered the ads.

A driver who crashed and killed a passenger, a young El Cajon man, after going 100 mph, was sentenced Dec. 14 to seven years in state prison.

San Diego Superior Court Judge Timothy Walsh ordered Sajjad Ismael, 20, to pay $7,500 for the funeral expenses of Isaac Garcia, 18, who was killed on May 17.

Ismael was in a hurry to take his friends to the beach at 1:30 p.m. on Interstate 8 near Waring Road when he clipped another vehicle. That caused his vehicle to travel up a hillside where it struck two trees and then rolled back down to the freeway.

Three counts of second-degree murder were filed Dec. 4 against the driver of a truck that overturned during a chase by U.S. Border Patrol agents and killed three undocumented immigrants in Boulevard.

The chase occurred Nov. 29 after Luis Alberto Virgen, 21, refused to pull over after Border Patrol agents attempted to stop the vehicle in East County.

Virgen was driving recklessly, weaving in and out of traffic on Interstate 8 from Buckman Springs Road. A spike strip was placed on the road, and the truck ran over it while it was raining.

A judge declined to set any bail Nov. 26 for a former Jamul man who is accused of killing his wife nearly two years ago.

Winnie Perry Whitby III, 49, pleaded not guilty to the murder of Melissa Estrada Whitby, 49, whose body was discovered along a hiking path in the 15800 block of Skyline Truck Trail on Dec. 30, 2016.

Deputy District Attorney Jessica Paugh asked El Cajon Superior Court Judge Robert Amador to deny bail, saying Whitby represents “a substantial danger to the public and a flight risk.”

A judge on Monday set a Sept. 10, 2019, trial for Congressman Duncan Hunter and his wife who are accused of unlawfully using campaign funds for personal expenses.

Both Duncan D. Hunter, 41, and his estranged wife, Margaret Hunter, 43, waived their right to have a speedy trial before U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Whelan.

Defense attorneys Greg Vega and Logan Smith asked for a lengthy delay because they have not yet gone through every single document which refers to the 43 counts of wire fraud and 13 counts of falsifying records for campaign finances from 2009 to 2016.

A La Mesa man was sentenced Nov. 19 to 22 years in prison for stabbing a 19-year-old man to death in 2005 in a gang related incident.

Anthony Raymond Rivers, now 31, was ordered to pay $5,000 in funeral costs for Luis Vasquez who was killed Oct. 10, 2005 outside a liquor store in National City.

Family members of Vasquez were present at the sentencing but they did not speak. Deputy District Attorney Robert Eacret said in court that Vasquez’s mother wanted Rivers to know that she had forgiven him despite the huge loss to her family.

A former El Cajon man was ordered Nov. 14 to stand trial for murder in the beating death of a 71-year-old man during a robbery in which the victim was beaten with a baseball bat.

A criminalist with the San Diego Police crime lab testified the DNA of Edward Jamar Brooks, now 28, was found in the empty pants pocket of LeRay “Mac” Parkins where Parkins’ wallet was taken in a 2000 robbery.

The man who shot Leticia Arroyo to death in her Santee home was sentenced Nov. 9 to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

About 20 friends and family of Arroyo, 34, were present at the sentencing of Jose Nunez Torres, 23, who was also given a consecutive term of 24 years and eight months for other crimes.

Her mother, sister, grandmother and uncle spoke about their loss in the Oct. 4, 2016, slaying.

“What really upsets me is he never showed any remorse,” said Rosanna Reyes, who is Arroyo’s mother.