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Salgado to face jury in January in death of architect Downes

Higinio Soriano Salgado, who is accused of killing local architect Graham Downes, will stand trial in about four months, a San Diego Superior Court Judge ordered on Wednesday.

The trial originally was set for late July, and then was continued by now-retired Judge John Einhorn to begin Wednesday. The new jury trial date has been set for Jan. 27, 2014, with two pretrial hearings coming up Nov. 22 and Jan. 10, 2014.

Prosecutors believe Salgado fatally and intentionally injured Downes when they became involved in an altercation in the early hours of April 19 in front of Downes’ Bankers Hill home. Salgado, a property manager at the time for the now-closed Graham Downes Architecture firm, was one of many employees Downes had invited to his home the evening before. According to San Diego Police reports, the two men appeared to have been the last two at the home when the incident occurred.

An autopsy by the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s office described Downes’ injuries as consistent with blunt-force trauma to the head, and indicated neck injuries consistent with both impact injuries and strangulation. Downes was removed from life support on the evening of April 23. He was 56 years old, and the autopsy report said he was just under 6 feet tall and weighed 259 pounds. Salgado, 31, is 5 feet, 5 inches tall, and weighs 320 pounds.

Police reports and testimony at Salgado’s preliminary hearing in July indicated that the gathering at Downes’ home involved about 16 of his employees and the drinking of alcohol, including by both Salgado and Downes. The blood alcohol concentration for Downes was revealed by the autopsy to be 0.23, nearly three times the legal driving limit.

Each of the scheduled proceedings is expected to be held at 9 a.m. in Department 51 at the downtown San Diego Superior Court.

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