Teens to face preliminary hearing in skateboard attacks during robbery attempts in Spring Valley

Manslaughter charge may be added

SPRING VALLEY, Calif. - While the family of a crime victim grieves, the sister of a suspect maintains that her brother is innocent.

The victim's relatives said they had lost touch with the cousin who was beaten over the head.

A cell phone photo sent to 10News shows 61-year-old Daniel Sparks on the ground, surrounded by paramedics. An email thanks neighbors responsible for the tribute to him.

"We are very grateful for their kindness in setting out a cross and flowers … deeply touched that they have chosen to not let his death go unmarked," the email reads. "Thank you."

Sparks was treated and released from a hospital, but three days later was found unconscious a few blocks away, alongside Jamacha Road. He died the next day.

Two teenage skateboarders have been arrested and charged with attacks on the 61-year-old homeless man and three other people.

One is a juvenile, whose name was not released. The other is 18-year-old Javier Garcia, whose sister told 10News that he is innocent.

"He doesn't understand what's going on," she said. "It's all [expletive] charges and he doesn't understand what's going on."

The two teens were expected in El Cajon court for arraignment on Wednesday. They now await a preliminary hearing on charges of assault with a deadly weapon and attempted robbery.

Detectives say three people were struck on the head with skateboards during robbery attempts. Neighbors in a well-manicured section of Spring Valley are worried.

Katherine Brydon described herself as very concerned.

"I never go outside after night anymore," she said.

Brydon said police have been out in force. 

"Yesterday, probably 15 or 20 police, detectives were in the neighborhood, interviewing people to see if they knew anything," she said.

Another woman who did not want to be identified said she is scared for her mother.

"I'm very concerned about the things going on around here … Got two little ones, yes I do, so it makes me nervous," she said.

If the Medical Examiner determines that the blow to the head four days earlier is responsible for Sparks' death, a manslaughter charge could be added.

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