Preliminary hearing today for hatchet-wielding suspect

Tuesday, Nov. 12—

A young man accused of using a hatchet to damage a stranger’s home in Ramona before turning the weapon on a neighbor and his vehicle was expected at the El Cajon courthouse today for a preliminary hearing.

Devin Michael Jones, 23, pleaded not guilty Oct. 28 to five charges, including vandalism and assault with a deadly weapon. A judge will decide at the end of the preliminary hearing whether there’s enough evidence to order Jones to stand trial.

The noninjury fracas began in the 600 block of B Street about 6 a.m. Oct. 24, according to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

A resident went outside to investigate what sounded like someone pounding on the outside of his house and was confronted by a combative man he didn’t know. An argument ensued, prompting a neighbor to threaten to call 911 if the disturbance continued, sheriff’s Sgt. Kurt Torsak said. The aggressor responded by charging him, clutching a hatchet.

The victim fled, got into his truck and locked it as the assailant whacked on the driver’s side door and shouted profanities for a time. He then ran off, Torsak said.

Deputies sealed off the area and searched it, eventually finding and arresting the suspect, who was identified as Jones.

Investigators later learned an air-conditioning unit, exterior wall and garage door at the home of the person initially targeted was bashed, dented and smashed.

“The damage appeared to have been caused by a hatchet,” the sergeant said.

In addition to two counts of assault and one count of felony vandalism, Jones is charged with trying to dissuade a victim from reporting a crime and a misdemeanor count of being under the influence. He faces five years and eight months in prison if convicted, said Deputy District Attorney Andy Aguilar.

The preliminary hearing is intended to enable a judge to determine if a trial is warranted. Authorities had not reported a motive as of this morning.

—City News Service

   
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