Man To Stand Trial In Dismemberment Case

A former adult bookstore employee accused of fatally shooting and dismembering a 57-year-old transient he knew must stand trial on a murder charge, a judge ruled Monday.

Gerald Michael Nash, 61, is accused of killing Allen Hawes and discarding his body parts around San Diego County.

The victim's torso was found Feb. 26 in the Otay River bed in Palm City. The next day, his head turned up in a plastic bag found along southbound Interstate 5 in Barrio Logan. A left hand was found the same day at the end of Highway 163 downtown.

San Diego police Detective J.C. Smith testified at a daylong preliminary hearing that Nash told him he had known Hawes for seven years. When he was questioned the day after the discovery of the torso, Nash claimed he had not seen Hawes in three weeks or a month, Smith testified.

Nash led police to a storage facility in National City, where they found the victim's backpack, Smith testified.

Rubber gloves, a blow-up mattress, carpeting and plastic sheeting -- all items that appeared to have blood on them -- were found in a trash bin near the bookstore and Nash's home, Smith testified.

A search of Nash's bedroom turned up a book on how to create a new identity and obituaries of men close in age to the defendant, he said. Three guns were found in the trunk of Nash's car and a .357-caliber Magnum shell casing was found on Nash when he was arrested, Smith said.

San Diego police forensic specialist Doreen Savage testified that she examined what appeared to be a homemade silencer seized in the case, as well as two saws. Savage said she also examined a bottle of bleach taken from Nash's van that had the victim's blood on it.

The rubber gloves seized from the trash bin had DNA from both the victim and the defendant, said SDPD criminalist Tess Hemmerling.

Nash worked as a clerk at "Ever So Naughty," a Palm Avenue adult bookstore that Hawes frequented. Hawes, an East Coast transplant, was known around Old Town and Palm City as "Backpack Al," police said.

Judge Frederic Link ordered Nash to return to court Aug. 7 for arraignment. Nash faces 50 years to life in prison if convicted of murder, along with a weapons enhancement.

Nash is jailed in lieu of $5 million bail.

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