ESCONDIDO, Calif. - A man accused of beating his mother to death in the home they shared in Tierrasanta, then getting into a freeway accident in which he was seriously injured, was arraigned from his hospital bed Tuesday on murder and misdemeanor hit-and-run charges.
Dale Edward Robinson, 55, pleaded not guilty in the death of 78-year-old Joan Robinson and was ordered held on $5 million bail. He was handcuffed and under police guard. When doctors release him, Robinson will be transported to county jail.
Deputy District Attorney Scott Pirrello told Judge Blaine Bowman that the defendant was involved in a June 30 high-speed crash on northbound Interstate 15 in which his vehicle sideswiped another car and ran off the road near Centre City Parkway.
Authorities said Robinson, who suffered broken ribs and punctured lungs, may have been intoxicated at the time of the crash.
The victim's death came to light two days later, when family members concerned about her welfare found her battered body in a home on Tinasa Way about 10:30 p.m. last Tuesday. The retired artist appeared to have died of blunt-force injuries, and investigators concluded that she had been slain several days earlier, according to San Diego police Lt. Mike Hastings.
Pirrello said Robinson's sister was the last known person to talk to the victim on June 30.
Police believe the high-speed crash on I-15 occurred shortly after she was killed.
Investigators found a trail of blood from where the victim's body was found up to the defendant's bedroom, the prosecutor said.
Robinson has a history of mental illness and convictions for arson and battery causing serious injury from 1988 and 2011, respectively, Pirrello said.
He also told of Robinson's questioning by detectives.
"In limited discussions with detectives, he did acknowledge that he was the one involved in this vicious assault on his mother," said Pirrello.
Friends of the victim told reporters she had expressed concerns about her live-in son's mental stability and "anger problems."
Robinson faces 85 years to life in state prison if convicted. He will be back in court July 24 for a readiness conference.