A man accused of shooting a 33-year-old man to death in the East County pleaded not guilty Thursday to a murder charge and was ordered held on $3 million bail.
Antonio Garcia, 32, was arrested Monday at a relative's National City home in connection with the fatal shooting of Josue Rodriguez.
Garcia allegedly shot Rodriguez in the back of the head in the 5800 block of Amarillo Avenue in La Mesa about 5:30 p.m. Oct. 4.
The motive for the slaying remains unknown, though witnesses reported hearing an argument between two men just before the gunfire rang out, according to La Mesa police.
It also was unclear why the victim was in the neighborhood where he was slain.
He had driven there but was on foot when he was shot, possibly trying to run away from his assailant, police said.
Police declined to disclose what led detectives to identify Garcia, a La Mesa resident, as the alleged killer.
Garcia faces 50 years to life in prison if convicted of murder and the use of a gun.
Judge Charles Ervin scheduled a readiness conference for Oct. 17 and a preliminary hearing for Oct. 24.
Family members said Rodriguez leaves behind a 2-year-old daughter.
They have set up a donation fund to help with funeral costs. Those who want to contribute can go to any Chase bank and ask to give to the Francisco Rodriguez Family Special Needs Trust using account number 990737488.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. City News Service contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.