El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Neal Putnam

The accused killer of an El Cajon woman remained silent in court Nov. 2 and the judge ordered him to remain in jail without bail.

Diane Spagnuolo, 65, was stabbed to death Oct. 29 where she worked at the X-Spot adult bookstore at 3600 Midway Drive and robbery is believed to be the motive.

Spagnuolo worked for the Salvation Army for 16 years and she was also the assistant manager of her mobile home park in El Cajon.

A not guilty plea was entered on behalf of Shaun Douglas Ward, 39, by his attorney Raymond Aragon.

A prosecutor announced Oct. 19 his office may seek the death penalty against an El Cajon man who is charged with killing and robbing a beloved businessman also from El Cajon.

A customer found Ghedeer “Tony” Radda, 49, mortally wounded Oct. 10 at his store, Bottom Price Flooring & Supply, at 1015 G Street in downtown San Diego.

Special circumstance charges alleging murder during a robbery and burglary were filed Oct. 19 against Kevin Eugene Cartwright, 51, who was arrested Oct. 18 at midnight by San Diego Police.

Cartwright pleaded not guilty.

People reacted angrily Friday in court after a judge ordered the conditional release of the “Bolder Than Most” rapist to a house in Jacumba Hot Springs.

The courtroom was filled with people opposed to the release of Alvin R. Quarles, now 56, who committed his crimes 30 years ago in San Diego.

Quarles will be released to 24-hour supervision by Liberty Healthcare Corporation on or about Nov. 23 to a house surrounded by a chain-link fence on a dirt road.

The paroled “Bolder Than Most” rapist from the 1980s is recommended for release in Jacumba Hot Springs at a placement hearing on Friday, Oct. 12.

Alvin R. Quarles, now 56, has served 25 years of his 50-year prison term imposed in 1989, and since 2013, he has been confined at a state psychiatric facility.

Quarles has been declared a sexually violent predator (SVP) which is why he is still being held. He was sentenced under a former law in which he only had to serve half of his prison term, but the law has since changed.

Family and friends of Brandon DeGuzman attended the sentencing of the Santee man who shot him to death over a $30 drug debt in 2016.

Richard James Gunner, 25, was sentenced Sept. 20 to 40 years to life in prison by El Cajon Superior Court Judge Daniel Lamborn.

Additonally, Gunner received a consecutive sentence of 12 years for felony assault of another inmate in jail in 2017.

A second-degree murder charge was filed Sept. 19 against the alleged drunk driver who crashed his vehicle into a guard rail, killing one of his passengers in Spring Valley.

Rene Ruiz, 27, pleaded not guilty Sept. 20 in the Sept. 17 death of Melanie Alexandra Feliciano, 24, after Ruiz’s Mercedes Benz rolled over on state Route 94 at Sweetwater Springs Boulevard.

El Cajon Superior Court Judge Robert Amador ordered Ruiz, of Spring Valley, to be held in jail without bail at the request of Deputy District Attorney Cally Bright.

After 10 hours of deliberations over two days, a jury on Friday convicted a man of first-degree murder in the 2016 slaying of Leticia Arroyo in her Santee residence.

Jose Nunez Torres, 23, was also found guilty of 15 other charges including robbery, burglary, evading officers with reckless driving and two auto thefts.

The seven-man, five-woman jury also found true special circumstances allegations that the murder of Arroyo, 34, was committed during a robbery, burglary and while lying in wait.

Two men who pleaded guilty to various crimes testified Sept. 5 against a man on trial for the murder of Leticia Arroyo who was shot to death in her Santee town home in 2016.

The trial of Jose Nunez Torres, 23, continues this week before a seven-woman, five-man jury and Judge Evan Kirvin in El Cajon Superior Court.

The man who drove the getaway car moments after Torres allegedly killed Arroyo, 34, testified. His name is not being released as he has received threats, according to his attorney, Gloria Collins.

A Spring Valley man was ordered Aug. 24 to stand trial for murder in the death of a man who was shot seven times in public.

Osvaldo Apolo Lopez, 36, will get a trial date set on Sept. 10 in the death of Ricardo Sales, 30, of National City, who was killed Nov. 14, 2017 in Imperial Beach.

Chula Vista Superior Court Judge Stephanie Sontag heard almost one and a half days of testimony in the preliminary hearing that included several sheriff’s detectives and others.

A trial for Congressman Duncan Hunter and his wife could be somewhat soon, a federal prosecutor told a judge at their arraignment Aug. 23 on campaign finance charges.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Phil Halpern said the prosecution was ready for trial soon and that Hunter and his wife “have known about this investigation for a while.”

A trial date could be set on Sept. 4, the next court appearance for Hunter and his wife, Margaret Hunter, if their attorneys feel they are ready to set a trial date.