A 32-year-old California man is accused of beating his boss to death out of fear that he would lose his job to a former colleague, KFMB-TV reported on Monday.
Prosecutors in San Diego began making their case against Higinio Salgado, saying an April 2013 confrontation with the victim, 56-year-old Graham Downes, turned violent, resulting in Salgado hitting Downes in the head between 17 and 21 times.
The fatal encounter allegedly came at the end of an evening of drinking of socializing Downes organized involving Salgado and other colleagues at Downes’ architectural firm. At the time, Salgado was a facilities manager for the company.
U-T San Diego reported that the party made its way to Downes’ home. Prosecutors said Salgado got angry when a former colleague, Simon Terry-Lloyd, was mentioned in conversation and yelled profanities at the group, threatening them that Terry-Lloyd had “better not” replace him with the company.
“He was angry at the victim because he felt a sense of betrayal by the victim,” Deputy District Attorney Amy Maund said of Salgado.
Defense attorneys said Salgado did not intentionally kill Downes, centering their opening statements around their client’s alcohol consumption the night of Downes’ death. Salgado’s blood-alcohol level was measured at .15 percent following his arrest, placing it around .20 percent at the time of his argument with Downes. Attorney Jamahl Kersey also said in court that Salgado had been “loud and rambunctious” earlier that evening.
“It is a very unfortunate situation that Mr. Downes lost his life,” Kersey said. “But it is not murder.”
Watch KFMB’s report, as aired on Monday, below.