Man accused of fatally stabbing brother pleads not guilty

CHULA VISTA, Calif. - An ex-con accused of using a samurai sword and a barbecue fork to kill his younger brother during a fight at their family's Chula Vista condominium pleaded not guilty Thursday to a murder charge and was ordered held without bail.

Alberto Gonzalez Figueroa Jr., 35, was arrested Tuesday in the death of 24-year-old Mario Figueroa. The siblings' grandfather found them scuffling in a bedroom at their residence in the 2000 block of Lakeridge Circle in Chula Vista about 7:15 a.m. and tried in vain to break up the fight, according to Chula Vista police.

The elder brother pushed away his grandfather and told him not to get involved, prompting the man to hurry to a nearby home and ask a neighbor to make a 911 call, police Capt. Gary Wedge said.

Officers and paramedics arrived to find the younger sibling lying wounded on the floor of the bedroom he shared with his mother. He died at the scene.

A woman who lives in the neighborhood reported seeing the bloodied suspect leaving on his bicycle, and authorities issued a law enforcement be-on-the-lookout alert for him, Wedge said.

About 45 minutes later, a National City police officer spotted the suspect riding near the intersection of Prospect Street and Sweetwater Road, just west of Interstate 805, and arrested him on suspicion of murder.

It was unclear what prompted the dispute, the second one this year to bring police to the family's home, according to Wedge. In January, officers investigated a disturbance between the siblings at the condo, and the older one was taken into custody after he allegedly battered a patrol officer, the captain said.

The defendant, who faces 29 years to life behind bars if convicted of murder, has been to prison twice, according to the criminal complaint.

A readiness conference is scheduled for May 7 and a preliminary hearing for May 30.

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