Judge rules that property manager charged with fatally beating his boss must stand trial for murder

Higinio Salgado charged in death of architect

SAN DIEGO - A property manager charged with fatally beating his boss, a prominent architect, during a gathering at the victim's Bankers Hill home must stand trial for murder, a judge ruled Wednesday.
   
Higinio Salgado, 31, is charged in the death of 56-year-old Graham Downes. If convicted, Salgado faces 25 years to life in prison.
   
After a two-day preliminary hearing, Judge John Einhorn found that enough evidence was presented for Salgado to stand trial, which was set for Sept. 18.
   
Dr. Steven Campman, a deputy medical examiner, testified Wednesday that Downes suffered 17 to 21 blows to the head and neck. Some injuries to the neck were consistent with strangulation, he said.
   
Anne MacDougall, an assistant at Downes' architectural firm, testified Tuesday that she and Salgado were among about 16 people invited to a happy hour at Downes' office the night of April 18.
   
Later in the evening, some of the group went to Downes' home in the 200 block of West Juniper Street and were gathered around the bar when the name of Simon Terry-Lloyd, Salgado's former supervisor at the firm, came up.
   
"You better not give him my (expletive) job," Salgado told Downes. "I (expletive) hate that guy," Salgado said of Lloyd, according to MacDougall.
   
Downes replied, "Don't worry about it. That's not going to happen," MacDougall testified.
   
Two of Downes' neighbors testified they were awakened about 1 a.m. by loud, angry voices. A woman said she heard a male voice say "I'm going to (expletive) you up."
   
The woman said she fell back asleep only to wake up to grunting noises and thumping sounds. "It went on for quite a while," the woman said.
   
Another neighbor, Jeff Kunitz, testified that he looked out his window and saw a large man in a blue shirt acting aggressively toward a smaller man.
   
According to court testimony, Salgado had blood on his blue shirt when he was arrested.
   
Patrol officers responding to a reported disturbance found the two men on the ground in front of the architect's residence.
   
Downes was unconscious when taken to a hospital. He was allowed to die April 24 when he was taken off life support.
    
According to evidence presented at the preliminary hearing, the victim's blood-alcohol level was measured at .23 percent shortly before the fight.
   
Deputy District Attorney Amy Maund told the judge that Salgado was angry at the victim at the thought that Downes would hire Terry-Lloyd again.
   
"He (Salgado) stewed over it," the prosecutor said, noting the defendant thought about what he was going to do for at least 30 minutes. "He knew what he was doing."
   
Maund said the altercation between Salgado and Downes -- a former rugby player -- was not a fight but a one-sided attack.

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