• Big Screen alerts

John C. Upton was not a household name. His films contained no special effects or big name stars. The documentary filmmaker was best known for his crusade to save the lives of countless Romanian orphans from the deplorable conditions they had been forced to live under during the reign of late communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.

Upton, 56, was shot to death yesterday after what police are calling a "dispute between two adults males."

61-year-old Encinitas resident Michael Vilkin is being held by police on suspicion of murder in connection with the shooting.

According to ABC 10 News, the shooting took place in the 2900 block of Lone Jack Road shortly after 9 a.m. Thursday, Upton, who took a bullet to the head, died on the scene.

Fox 5's Raoul Martinez reports the incident may have stemmed from an ongoing argument between the two men involving hedges on Vilkin's property.

  • Big Screen alerts


Matthew Lickona March 29, 2013 @ 10:51 a.m.

Oh man. Hedges. Now there's a documentary. Werner Herzog, come on down.


Eva Knott Sept. 24, 2013 @ 3:52 a.m.

Update: a judge ordered Vilkin to stand trial on charges of murder and assault with a deadly weapon at the conclusion of a hearing September 23, 2013, in San Diego's North County Superior Courthouse. According to testimony, Vilkin brought two workers to his property about 8 a.m. the day of the shooting, last March. Both workers testified in court with the aid of a Spanish speaking interpreter. The men said Michael Vilkin hired them to cut small trees and shrubbery along a fenceline, and the men were ear-witnesses to the shooting. Both workers said that the shooting victim, John Upton, first came to them and offered to move a car that was parked near the plants they were cutting. Then Upton walked down the pathway towards Vilkin, where he soon died.


Sign in to comment

Win a $25 Gift Card to
The Broken Yolk Cafe

Join our newsletter list

Each newsletter subscription means another chance to win!