Nicolas Brito Rosales
Nicolas Brito Rosales. Photo: SDPD

A man accused of shooting his ex-boss to death more than six years ago at the victim’s Point Loma auto repair shop pleaded not guilty Friday to murder and gun charges.

Nicolas Brito Rosales, 53, was ordered held on $4 million bail in connection with the slaying of 63-year-old Jalal “Joe” Abou.

The U.S. Marshals Service took custody of Rosales on Tuesday after he was released from a Mexican prison.

Patrol officers responding to reports of gunfire about 7:30 a.m. on April 19, 2011, arrived to find Abou lying in a parking lot at his Rosecrans Street business, Joe’s Auto Repair, with several good Samaritans performing CPR on him, according to San Diego police.

Paramedics took over the lifesaving attempts before pronouncing Abou — an Iraq native and father of three who lived in Rancho San Diego — dead at the scene.

Witnesses told investigators they had seen a man parked near the shop in a dark-green sedan with primer spots on it prior to the shooting and spotted him driving away immediately afterward.

Rosales had left his job at the victim’s business the previous October. Police declined to specify if Rosales quit or was fired, but did say Rosales returned to the garage several times between the date of his termination and the slaying.

It was unclear why the suspect had been incarcerated in Mexico.

Rosales faces 50 years to life in prison if convicted.

He will be back in court Sept. 22 for a status conference. A preliminary hearing was set for Sept. 28.

–City News Service

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