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Man accused of killing driver in South Bay road rage incident pleads not guilty

Posted: 9:32 AM, Nov 29, 2018
Updated: 2018-11-30 02:37:28Z
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Sweetwater Road stabbing truck, van Nov. 27,
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CHULA VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) — A FedEx warehouse worker accused of stabbing a father of five to death after an apparent road rage incident in the South Bay was arraigned Thursday.

Rickey Vernon Smith, 60, pleaded not guilty in the stabbing death of 36-year-old Horace Williams Jr. on Wednesday. Smith is being held on $2 million bail.

During the arraignment, Deputy District Attorney Makenzie Harvey called Smith's actions a "callous act," in which he stabbed Williams six times after a rolling altercation between the two men, according to City News Service (CNS).

RELATED: Father of five killed in Chula Vista road rage stabbing

The altercation occurred after the two men became embroiled in angry shouting and gestures, according to investigators. It's not clear what led to the argument.

Police say Williams allegedly threw a soda cup at Smith during the argument. Witnesses say Smith then struck Williams' pickup truck from behind, before pulling his van ahead and stopping abruptly, causing a crash. Smith reportedly exited his van and punched Williams through the driver's side window and stabbed him multiple times, according to police.

Williams, a National City resident, died at the hospital. He had just dropped his children off at school when he was killed less than a mile from his home, the GoFundMe to help his family reads.

RELATED: Man stabbed to death in possible road rage incident in South Bay

At the time of the incident, Smith was an off-duty FedEx warehouse employee. He doesn't work as a driver, according to CNS, though he was wearing his uniform at the time of the crash. He remained at the scene for police.

Defense attorney Brian Watkins argued Smith's bail should be lowered to $100,000 because his client was not a danger to the community. Watkins claimed that Williams threw the first punch and "there are two sides to every story," CNS reported.

Smith is due back in court on Dec. 19 for a readiness conference and then on Jan. 24 for a preliminary hearing. He faces 26 years to life in prison if convicted.