"The Jungle" off Mission Road
The pretty, young Latina was crying and upset when she spoke to deputies in San Marcos. One of the deputies was able to translate her Spanish for everyone else.
The woman said she was walking with her boyfriend along Mission Road in San Marcos, near the bus stop at the corner of Pico Avenue. The sun was low in the sky, it was before 7 pm on May 21. There was plenty of light for her boyfriend to see that she had some scratchers, those California lottery tickets. This angered him; he demanded to know where she got the money to buy lottery tickets. The day before, he had given her one hundred dollars cash. He began to accuse her of wasting money, she said, and they argued. And then her boyfriend told her to “go into the jungle” so he could kill her, she told the deputies.
The bus stop at the corner of Pico Avenue.
San Diego County Sheriff’s deputy Kyle testified that “the jungle” is what locals call a wooded place in that area, it is frequented by transients. When the frightened woman spoke to deputies she pointed toward “the jungle.” After she refused to “go into the jungle,” she said her boyfriend grabbed her clothing and pulled her close.
The woman claimed he grabbed her neck and began to strangle her. She guessed he strangled her for maybe 30 seconds, and while he gripped her neck he slammed her head into a tree. She said her head hit the tree maybe four times. She urinated on herself during this attack, she said.
Across the street from the bus stop, there is a tiny eatery called Tacos Alex. People there saw what was happening and yelled for the man to stop. And they yelled out that police were on the way.
Witnesses at Tacos Alex yelled for the man to stop.
According to witnesses, the violent man grabbed the woman’s purse and ran away. Deputy Kyle said he arrested Saul Rios Guzman about one block away from the bus stop; the suspect was being detained by another officer. The other deputy was on the ground, struggling with Guzman, underneath the Twin Oaks Valley Road overpass.
Deputy Kyle testified at a pre-trial hearing about a month after the alleged incident, on June 15.
Saul Rios Guzman, 38, pled not-guilty.
The deputy said when he was speaking with the alleged victim, “She could barely breathe, and she thought he was going to kill her.” The deputy described the small woman as “very afraid” of her boyfriend, Guzman.
“I noticed she had redness on the left side of her neck.” The deputy offered to phone paramedics, but the woman refused help. She refused to be examined by a forensic expert who could document any alleged injuries. The alleged victim did agree that she wanted a court protective order, and deputy Kyle contacted the on-duty judge to arrange that.
During the pre-trial hearing, defense attorney Crystal Salumbides protested that the prosecutor was trying to claim the tree as a “deadly weapon.” The defense attorney asked the judge to reduce all charges to misdemeanors, pointing out that the alleged victim apparently did not require any medical treatment.
Prosecutor James Teh insisted, “This tree is being used as a deadly weapon. That was described by the victim.” The prosecutor claimed that independent witnesses heard screams and saw the victim struck several times.
Prosecutor Teh told the court that defendant Guzman was in prison for a lewd conduct conviction out of Los Angeles, and has been arrested multiple times in San Diego County for failure to register as a sex offender.
Judge Kelly Mok declined to reduce charges. Judge Mok ordered Guzman to trial on four felonies, these include assault with a deadly weapon, assault on spouse or significant other, and felony resisting officers.
Saul Rios Guzman, 38, pled not-guilty to all charges.