A man who allegedly struck another man in the head with a wrench outside a 7-Eleven store in the Rolando neighborhood, resulting in his death five days later, was ordered Wednesday to stand trial on murder and assault charges.
John Cowan Patch, 27, is accused in the Nov. 5, 2019, attack on George Almestar, 30, who was struck around 4:20 a.m. in the parking lot of the convenience store near the intersection of El Cajon and Rolando boulevards.
He was admitted to a hospital in critical condition, police said, and died Nov. 10.
According to preliminary hearing testimony, Patch was identified as the suspect through surveillance footage and witness accounts. He was arrested about 11 hours after the attack on El Cajon Boulevard, less than a mile away from the 7-Eleven.
He was initially charged and arraigned on an attempted murder charge, which was amended to murder after the victim’s death.
A motive for the attack has not been disclosed.
Patch’s attorney, Tee Ho, argued Wednesday that Patch struck Almestar in self-defense, alleging that the victim advanced towards him just prior to being struck.
In holding Patch to answer to the charges, San Diego Superior Court Judge Francis Devaney said Almestar was not carrying a weapon and it did not appear to him that the victim raised his hands to attack Patch in any way that would justify deadly use of force.
Patch is being held on $1 million bail and his next court date is a Dec. 23 Superior Court arraignment.
–City News Service