DNA Evidence Ties Suspect to Stabbing Death of Fallbrook Man: ME

Prosecutors say the stabbing death of Hugh Pettigrew, 33, was a hate crime.

Update: The San Diego District Attorney’s Office confirms the three defendants in this case are not facing a hate crime enhancement as of November 14, 2016. According to DA spokesperson Steve Walker, the charge was not bound over by the judge in this case and the DA’s office chose not to refile the enhancement.

The Medical Examiner testified that DNA found where a Fallbrook man was stabbed and killed matches the two of three men on trial for the crime. 

Hugh Pettigrew, 33, died on Feb. 9 after succumbing to stabbing wounds suffered on Jan. 22 when he was randomly stabbed while walking home alone in what prosecutors say is a hate crime. 

Kevin Garcia, Tyler Dean and Ryan Valdez are charged with murder, criminal gang activity and hate crime in connection with the crime. They are represented by Herb Weston, Sherry Stone and Matt Mohun, respectively. 

During a preliminary hearing Wednesday, the San Diego County Medical Examiner testified that the DNA evidence from two knives found at the scene of the crime matches defendants Dean and Garcia. 

After the attack, the defendants were driven away by Garcia's fiancee, Jessica Valencia. 

She told the court she dropped Dean and Valdez off, then went with Garcia to his mom's house, to eat. 

During cross examination, prosecutor Christine Bannon asked Valencia if she thought it was odd that at least one person had their jacket up over their head. 

"I wasn't even look at that," she testified. She later added, "I just seen them and started the car."

She testified that the men did not come back and tell her anything. 

Pettigrew managed to walk home before collapsing. Family members called 911, and medics took him to a hospital. He died 18 days later.

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