The new San Diego County Superior Court in downtown San Diego. Photo by Chris Stone

A man accused of fatally stabbing another man during a fight in the Gaslamp Quarter pleaded not guilty Thursday to a murder charge.

David Zertuche, 30, is accused in the July 1 slaying of 43-year-old Canthon Tripplett of San Diego.

Police were notified of the stabbing just after 2:30 a.m. and found Tripplett in the 400 block of Fifth Avenue, where he was receiving first aid from a companion, San Diego police Lt. Andra Brown said. Paramedics took Tripplett to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Deputy District Attorney Nereida Melgarejo said Tripplett was out with friends that night. She said his group encountered Zertuche several times throughout the evening, culminating in a verbal argument and physical altercation.

During the fight, Tripplett was stabbed in the chest, the prosecutor said.

Zertuche allegedly ran from the scene and was found near the Hilton hotel, with bloody hands and a knife nearby, Melgarejo said.

He is being held on $1 million bail and is due back in court Aug. 4 for a readiness conference.

— City News Service

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