Man pleads not guilty in decade-old bar killing

Posted at 4:14 PM, May 31, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-01 09:49:08-04

CHULA VISTA, Calif. - A homicide suspect who was on the lam in Mexico for 10 years after allegedly gunning down a man in a bar fight in South San Diego pleaded not guilty Tuesday to murder and other charges.

Guillermo Gonzalez Nunez, 41, fled to Mexico after he allegedly killed Willie Clark Jr. in a fight at the La Vuelta Bar at 768 Hollister St. on April 3, 2006, according to San Diego police Lt. Manny Del Toro. Clark was a construction foreman who'd stopped at the bar for a beer after work.

While responding to that April 2006 attack, SDPD detectives learned another man had been pistol-whipped and other patrons were assaulted, Del Toro said.

Gonzalez Nunez was eventually identified as the homicide and assault suspect and a warrant was issued for his arrest. On May 27, members of the U.S. Marshals, San Diego Fugitive Task Force took custody of Gonzalez Nunez from Mexican authorities, who had arrested him in Mexico, Del Toro said.

Gonzalez Nunez faces 74 years and four months to life in prison if convicted of murder, attempted murder and two counts of assault with a firearm, said Deputy District Attorney Victor Ou.

Julius Clark, one of the victim's seven children, struggled to keep his composure.

"You see someone who took the life of your father; it's a hard pill to swallow. It's been a hard pill to swallow for 10 years but if my father was here, he's a Christian man, he'd want us to forgive this man for his evil," Clark said.

Gonzalez Nunez -- who was ordered held without bail -- will be back in court June 13 for a readiness conference and June 27 for a preliminary hearing.

After 10 years of uncertainty, the Clark family is now bracing for the wound to be re-opened.

"We're hanging in there. The journey is still going on, the pain is still there, and we have to re-live it. It comes back, comes back, comes back," Clark said.