El Cajon Superior Court
El Cajon Superior Court. Photo by Chris Stone

A parolee accused of fatally shooting his ex- girlfriend’s adult son in El Cajon, then getting into a standoff with police less than a week later, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to murder and other charges.

George Louis Garcia, 41, is accused of shooting 21-year-old Fabian Cerda four times just after 1 a.m. on Aug. 18.

Deputy District Attorney Alison Boutilier said Garcia and Cerda were “like father and son to each other,” but got into an argument that day “about money and family,” leading up the shooting in the 1500 block of East Main Street.

Cerda died in an ambulance en route to a hospital, according to El Cajon police.

Garcia had previously been convicted of attempted murder and was paroled less than a year ago, according to Boutilier, who also alleged he was “involved in selling drugs for one of the cartels.”

The criminal complaint indicates he was convicted of attempted murder in February 2000 in San Diego County, but other details on the case were not available.

In addition to the murder count related to Cerda’s killing, he’s charged with 13 other felonies, including firearm possession counts, as well as evading a peace officer for allegedly speeding away from police on May 23. Boutilier alleged that Garcia fled from police that day during a traffic stop, driving into oncoming traffic and nearly striking pedestrians before eventually ditching the vehicle and fleeing on foot.

The prosecutor said Garcia was at large in connection with the May 23 pursuit at the time of Cerda’s killing.

After Cerda’s murder, Garcia told the victim’s mother that “she would see him in the news” and made suicidal statements, according to Boutilier.

The defendant was arrested Aug. 24 following a two-hour standoff in his car with La Mesa police in the parking lot of the Best Western Plus La Mesa hotel, during which he threw two loaded guns out of his car window, one of which he said was the murder weapon, according to the prosecutor.

Garcia, who is being held on $5 million bail, faces nearly 97 years to life in state prison if convicted of all charges. He is due back in court Sept. 22 for a readiness conference.

— City News Service