Scene of Hillcrest slaying as police look for clues.
Scene of Hillcrest slaying as police look for clues. Image via NBC San Diego

Two men accused of killing a 60-year-old transient in Hillcrest last month pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges of murder, robbery and assault with a deadly weapon.

Willie Gray, 64, of Louisiana, and Darcell Moore, 39, of San Diego, are accused in the April 15 slaying of Shawn Puzzo, originally from Tucson. Both men face life imprisonment if convicted.

The victim was found near the intersection of Front and West Washington streets at about 9:15 p.m., suffering from “apparent trauma to his head and torso,” according to homicide Lt. Matt Dobbs of the San Diego Police Department.

Medics took Puzzo, who had lived on the streets of San Diego for several years, to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Dobbs said.

A witness description of two men possibly involved in the fatal assault led officers to detain, question and arrest Gray and Moore on suspicion of murdering Puzzo, according to the lieutenant.

Police have not disclosed a suspected motive for the slaying.

However, the victim and suspects were acquainted, according to Dobbs.

“We aren’t sure just how well they knew each other, but they were not complete strangers,” the lieutenant said last month.

Moore was being held without bail, while bail was set at $1 million for Gray. Both are slated to return to court June 29 for a preliminary hearing.

— City News Service