Man Pleads Not Guilty In Death Of Roommate

Joel Gutierrez Accused Of Killing Sex Offender Enrique Atilano

A National City man accused of stabbing his sex-offender roommate to death pleaded not guilty Tuesday to murder and other charges.

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Joel Gutierrez was ordered held on $1 million bail.

The 28-year-old defendant is charged in the death of 53-year-old Enrique Atilano, who had a conviction for committing lewd and lascivious acts on a child under 14.

A passerby found Atilano on his doorstep in the 300 block of Norton Avenue around 1 a.m. May 15, according to National City police. Medics pronounced him dead at the scene.

Atilano and Gutierrez shared a unit in a four-unit apartment complex, police said. Gutierrez was arrested the next day. The motive for the slaying was unclear.

Gutierrez, who has a 2002 conviction for carjacking, faces 57 years to life in prison if convicted, said Deputy District Attorney William La Fond.

South Bay Superior Court Judge Katherine Bacal scheduled a readiness conference for July 25 and a preliminary hearing for Aug. 1.

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