SAN DIEGO -- A pharmacist accused of fatally shooting a roommate's boyfriend at an Ocean Beach condominium complex last week pleaded not guilty to a murder charge Thursday.
Thomas Francis Burke, 32, is charged with murder in the death of 35-year-old Jess Robles of Pacific Beach. He was ordered held on $10 million bail.
Burke was arrested last Thursday in the East Village area, roughly 8 1/2 hours after gunfire erupted. Patrol officers found Robles on the ground in the 4100 block of Voltaire Street at about 11:15 p.m. the night before.
Witnesses reported that the assailant had retreated into a nearby residence, San Diego police Lt. Ray Valentin said. Officers tried in vain to contact the suspect, then called in a SWAT team to take positions around the condo and prepare to enter forcibly if necessary.
The stalemate continued past daybreak, until a detective was able to reach Burke on the suspect's cell phone. Burke agreed to turn himself in and did so about 7:30 a.m. at 16th and F streets in downtown San Diego.
Police were unsure if Burke had been in the surrounded residence at all during the standoff or if he might have left the area unnoticed beforehand.
Deputy District Attorney Kyle Sutterley said Burke faces 50 years to life in prison if convicted of murder and the use of a gun. A motive for the killing was unknown.