Escondido man pleads not guilty to murder charge
Update: VISTA (CNS) – An Escondido resident accused of gunning down another man
during a confrontation outside the suspect's trailer residence pleaded not
guilty Friday to a murder charge and was ordered held on $1 million bail.
(This is an update of a previouly posted story. The original story appears below.)
VISTA (CNS) – An Escondido resident is behind bars on suspicion of gunning down another man during a confrontation outside the suspect's trailer residence.
Michael James Hemphill, 55, allegedly shot 35-year-old Brandon Sanchez in the chest with a pistol in the 600 block of McDonald Lane in Escondido shortly before 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to Lt. Neal Griffin of the Escondido Police Department.
Sanchez died at the scene. Detectives questioned Hemphill, who said the shooting was an accident, before arresting him on suspicion of murder, according to police.
The suspect apparently confronted the victim as the latter was doing landscaping work at the property, where Hemphill rents backyard space for his older-model trailer, according to Griffin. Sanchez was acquainted with the owner and had done maintenance work and other odd jobs for her there at times, the lieutenant said.
Investigators believe Hemphill harbored resentment toward the victim, who lived with his parents in Escondido, for contacting him on prior occasions about unpaid rent and other concerns on behalf of the property owner, police reported.
Hemphill was being held in Vista Detention Center without bail pending arraignment, scheduled for Monday afternoon.