A transient who allegedly used a bow and arrow to kill another homeless man at a makeshift encampment in National City pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a murder charge.

Miguel Antonio Venegas, 35, is accused in the Oct. 19 slaying of Josue Hector Cameron, who was shot in the chest with a metal-tipped arrow at about 2:30 p.m. that day at an encampment west of the 1800 block of Wilson Avenue.

Deputy District Attorney Jessica Stehr said Cameron got into an argument with his girlfriend, who some time later entered Venegas’ tent.

As Cameron was looking around the camp for the woman, Venegas emerged from the tent and took the opportunity to fire on Cameron “as the victim was trying to get away,” she alleged.

An exact motive for the slaying was unclear, but the prosecutor said Venegas “believed the victim was treating (his girlfriend) poorly.”

At Venegas’ arraignment, Deputy Public Defender Pedro Garcia said his client told police he was trying to protect the woman involved in the incident. She also apparently told police she was not Cameron’s girlfriend, according to the attorney.

Garcia said Venegas has no prior criminal history, but the attorney highlighted Cameron’s “lengthy record,” which he said included robbery convictions, as well as arrests for assault and making criminal threats.

Police said officers responded to the area for a report of a fight, then were flagged down by Venegas, who directed them to the transient camp, where they found Cameron unresponsive. Medics and fire personnel later pronounced him dead at the scene.

Venegas, who faces the murder count and an allegation of using a deadly and dangerous weapon, is being held on $800,000 bail. His next court date is a Dec. 14 readiness conference.

–City News Service