Photo via Wikimedia Commons

An ex-con fatally shot a 67-year-old man at a Mission Valley homeless camp and had the murder weapon in his backpack when he was arrested, a prosecutor said Tuesday, but a defense attorney claimed the key witness accusing her client is the actual killer.

Sekou Torre Bullock, 39, is charged in the April 3, 2018, death of Monty Proulx, whose body was found face-down in an open area off the 8800 block of Friars Road.

San Diego Police Detective Sgt. Duane Malinowski testified that police initially believed — and publicly announced — that Proulx had been stabbed, but a subsequent autopsy revealed Proulx had been shot. Malinowski said the department withheld that information from the public so any witness reports that the man had been shot would be confirmed as legitimate.

About one week after the killing, a man came forward telling police he was at the scene of the shooting and saw Bullock kill Proulx.

That witness — who was formerly homeless — told investigators he spent the day of April 2 seeking drugs from homeless companions living at the Mission Valley river bottom, then encountered Bullock, who needed to replace a flat tire on his car. The men knew each other, as Bullock sometimes stayed at the witness’ home and was the ex-boyfriend of the witness’ wife, according to the prosecutor.

After unsuccessfully seeking a spare tire, the men decided to go to the river bottom to ask Proulx — a close friend of the witness — for help.

At about 1 a.m. April 3, the witness met with Proulx, at which point Bullock allegedly approached with an “old-school revolver with a wooden handle wrapped in a dark sock” and shot Proulx once in the chest, according to Deputy District Attorney Meghan Buckner.

After the witness talked to police, Bullock was arrested in downtown San Diego with a revolver in a sock inside his backpack, Buckner said.

In addition to murder, Bullock is also charged with dissuading a witness for allegedly having his brother threaten the witness, who has since entered a witness protection program, the prosecutor said. Buckner said jail phone recordings capture Bullock instructing his brother to get the witness to “tell the real.”

Defense attorney Victoria Ramirez claimed, however, that the witness killed Proulx for his money and drugs and spread a false story implicating Bullock.

The attorney said the witness and his wife got into an argument that day and the wife instructed Bullock to search for the witness at the river bottom, where he frequently sought drugs.

She said at some point, the witness drove to the homeless camp and murdered Proulx because “he knew (Proulx) had money and drugs.”

He then accused Bullock as part of his “cover story,” the attorney said.

“Who better then my wife’s ex-boyfriend that’s being a freeloader living on our couch, who comes to find me when I don’t want my wife to find me?” Ramirez said.

Ramirez said Bullock was unaware that Proulx had been shot and could be heard on those jail recordings saying he had been arrested for a stabbing, a detail he’d heard in news reports.

The attorney also denied that Bullock arranged for his brother to threaten the witness, and only wanted the witness to “tell the real” in order to rightfully clear his name.

Bullock remains in custody in lieu of $2 million bail.

–City News Service

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