Photo by City of Escondido
“I was told to go in there and remove his stuff because it was considered abandoned.”
A man who lived in a ten-foot-deep burrow in an Escondido park threatened city workers after his furniture and things were thrown away, according to testimony in court today, August 13, 2018.
Mark Edward Powell, 55, denied that he made criminal threats on two different occasions this year, after his belongings were removed from his digs in Kit Carson Park.
One worker testified that he first noticed Powell about four months ago, in April, when the transient “came out of nowhere and said he was thirsty and demanded water.” That worker said, “I apologized to him, that I had no water to give him.” At that time, Powell lived in a tent above-ground, on park grounds, according to the worker.
The worker said the City of Escondido gives transients three days' notice to vacate the area and take their things. “But he would not, he would yell and make threats,” the worker said.
On order of his supervisors, in early July, that worker removed a number of items from the underground burrow, “I was told to go in there and remove his stuff because it was considered abandoned.” Powell was not present when that worker found and removed a coffee table, futon, footlockers, shoes, two fold-up chairs, a machete, and a round-nosed shovel.
Some days later, on July 19, the city worker heard Powell yell and threaten an older woman who was walking her dog in the park. The homeless man threatened to kill park-goers and their pets, “It was frightening everyone,” the worker testified. He phoned 911.
This worker pointed at Mark Edward Powell in the courtroom and said, “That looks like him.” Powell has a short gray beard and short hair and is described in Sheriff’s records as 5 feet 11 inches tall and 170 pounds. Powell “threatened me, my family, and the city workers who threw out his property,” that witness told a judge today.
One week later, Powell allegedly threatened a different city worker at the same park, according to that second witness. “He was very upset,” the second worker said. Powell took a fighting stance, acused the worker of taking his things, and threatened to kill him and his family and all city workers, according to testimony.
Escondido police arrested Powell the following day, on July 27, 2018.
A defense attorney asked Honorable judge Carlos Armour to reduce the felony charges to misdemeanors.
But the judge remarked that Powell not only threatened city workers of Escondido, but also citizens who were only trying to use parks for their intended purpose.
Mark Edward Powell, 55, was ordered to answer two felony charges of making criminal threat, and is next due in San Diego’s North County courthouse on September 12 to confirm a date for trial.