A U.S. Marine accused of killing a man outside a bar near MCAS Miramar, and the Marine's friend who is accused of helping him flee the scene, pleaded not guilty to felony charges Thursday.
Damani Jerry Wiltshire-Beal, a 22-year-old Marine with 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (3 MAW) stationed at MCAS Miramar, is accused of shooting Kyle Delangel, 37, after a confrontation in the parking lot of the Off Base Bar on Miramar Road near Kearny Villa Road was closing early on Feb. 19.
He faces 25 years to life if convicted.
Deputy District Attorney Lynn Crum said in court that Willshire-Beal and Samuel Victor Perez, 23, got into an argument in the parking lot with several women at around 2 a.m. The women then went into the bar and told employees and other patrons about the
altercation, leading Delangel to confront the defendants, the prosecutor said.
Perez allegedly tried to drive away but Delangel stepped in front of the vehicle, then tried to punch Perez. Crum said Wiltshire-Beal then shot four times at the victim.
Delangel was taken to Scripps La Jolla Hospital but died from his injuries.
After the shooting, Perez drove himself and Wiltshire-Beal to Petco Park where the
pair separated, leaving the vehicle behind with the murder weapon inside, according to Crum. Both men were arrested separately at their residences later that day.
Wiltshire-Beal, who's been an active-duty Marine since Aug. 2017, according to USMC Maj. Mason Englehart, remains held without bail following Thursday's arraignment, but San Diego Superior Court Judge Laura Halgren granted supervised release for Perez, who faces up to three years if convicted of being an accessory after the fact.
The prosecution sought $100,000 bail for Perez, arguing that despite both men living near the bar, he drove them downtown, then the men separated in a bid to avoid detection. Crum also alleged Perez changed his appearance by shaving his beard shortly after the shooting.
Perez's attorney, Stefano Molea, said his client is a disabled veteran who was honorably discharged from the Marines and has no prior criminal history. Molea also said Perez may have been fearful for his own safety when he drove away, after his passenger allegedly fired a gun.
Family told NBC 7 that Delangel was a father of two daughters and a son, who are currently under the care of their grandparents.
Supporters commenting on a GoFundMe fundraiser for the Delangel family described him as a loving father and a caring friend with a good sense of humor. .