East County

Murder Charge Dropped in East County Killing

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A murder charge was dismissed Tuesday against a man accused in his friend's shooting death at a rural East County property in Dehesa.

Daniel Christopher Allen, 50, was arrested on suspicion of murder in the Nov. 19 shooting death of 31-year-old James Owens. He previously faced 77 years to life in state prison had he been convicted of murder and several firearm use allegations in connection with the shooting, which was reported around 10:30 p.m. in the 6000 block of Stallion Oaks Road, according to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department. The shooting took place about a mile northeast of Sycuan Casino Resort.

Before deputies arrived, an acquaintance of Owens drove him about a mile and a half from the shooting scene, sheriff's Lt. Thomas Seiver said.

Deputies stopped the vehicle on Stallion Oaks Road near Dehesa Road and found Owens inside suffering from a gunshot wound. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene, Seiver said.

Allen and Owens were described as friends at Allen's preliminary hearing, though following a series of arguments, witnesses told police that Owens made several threats towards Allen, including threatening to burn down the mountain where Allen's home was located.

Owens, who did not live on Allen's property but was "staying" there, was told to leave.

However, he returned later to retrieve his car, which Allen had moved off the property in the interim.

Another argument ensued and Owens got on his motorcycle and tried to run Allen down with it, but Allen evaded being struck, according to testimony.

Allen told investigators Owens then turned the motorcycle around and tried to strike him again, prompting Allen to shoot Owens once. Owens fell off the motorcycle, then reached into his jacket and Allen shot him two more times, according to testimony.

At the conclusion of the preliminary hearing, San Diego Superior Court Judge John Thompson dismissed the case, saying there was insufficient evidence to hold Allen to answer on the murder count. It was uncertain whether prosecutors would refile charges.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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