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Jury still out in Downes murder case

After nearly a full day of deliberation Tuesday, the jury in the trial of Higinio Salgado — accused of killing prominent San Diego architect Graham Downes — did not reach a verdict.

Closing arguments ended Tuesday morning. Jurors will have until 4:30 p.m. each day of deliberations either to reach a verdict or inform the court they can't come to a unanimous decision. They've been instructed to include in their deliberations the crime of first-degree murder, and the lesser crimes of second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter.

The defense team has argued that due to alcohol intoxication, Salgado can't recall the fight last April in which prosecutors say Salgado beat Downes, leaving him fatally injured in front of his Bankers Hill home. Salgado was a property manager, at the time, at one of Downes' development companies.

Two witnesses who lived near Downes’ home have testified they saw or heard the altercation. Neither witness claimed to have seen injurious blows, although one said the man matching Salgado's description made forward motions.

An examination of Downes found that in the early morning hours of April 19, 2013, he suffered from 17 to 21 blunt-force traumas to the head, which days later led to his death. The altercation occurred at the end of about six hours of steady drinking for Downes, Salgado and several other of Downes' employees.

Prosecutors have argued that Salgado intended to kill Downes because he felt betrayed by him, after an April 17 meeting between Downes and Salgado's former supervisor, whose name came up during the gathering. Salgado's "sense of betrayal," prosecutors said, turned to action on the sidewalk outside Downes' home, after the other guests had left.


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