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Man to stand trial for shooting that killed sleeping neighbor in Poway

Posted at 4:03 PM, Feb 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-27 19:03:21-05

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A Poway man who allegedly fired a gunshot during an argument with his brother about a phone charger, missing him but inadvertently killing a sleeping neighbor, was ordered today to stand trial for murder.

Manuula Save, 21, is accused of the Aug. 17, 2019 death of Michael Walker, 38, who was shot about 1:45 a.m. by a bullet that traveled through a bedroom wall in the defendant's apartment and into the victim's unit at the Sofi Poway apartment complex.

Walker was hit once in the midsection and died at a hospital about an hour later. Save faces life imprisonment if convicted of murder, shooting into an inhabited dwelling, assault with a semi-automatic firearm and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Deputy District Attorney Kristie Nikoletich said the shooting stemmed from a verbal and physical fight between Save and his older brother, Toa. Testimony from Thursday's preliminary hearing indicated the argument started over Manuula using his brother's phone charger.

Following the argument, Save retrieved a gun and fired at his sibling "to show his brother he wasn't scared of him,'' according to statements Save allegedly made to investigators.

Toa Save testified that he did not believe his brother fired the gun in his direction, but rather down and away from him. The younger Save then allegedly hid the 9mm firearm, which he was not allowed to possess due to a previous hit-and-run conviction involving the death of an elderly woman, Nikoletich said.

He was sentenced to probation in that case, she said. The prosecutor said Save did not intend to kill Walker, but was charged with murder under an implied malice theory, meaning the shooting displayed a conscious disregard for human life.

"He knew he was using an inherently deadly weapon in a threatening manner and admitted he knew shooting a firearm through an adjoining wall of another apartment was dangerous,'' Nikoletich argued to San Diego County Superior Court Judge Michael S. Groch, who bound Save over on all charges.

Save is due back in court April 1 for a Superior Court arraignment.