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A man who fatally shot his neighbor, then threatened the victim’s girlfriend when she came out to investigate the noise, according to a prosecutor who spoke in court today.

Investigators said that Michael Vilkin, 61, went to a vacant property he owns in Encinitas at 2902 Lone Jack Road, about 9 a.m. last Thursday.

That morning, March 28, Vilkin brought two workers with him, and they were clearing brush along a path that led to Vilkin’s property; the path was on an easement, a prosecutor said today.

A man who lived on an adjoining property, named John Charles Upton, Jr., 56, saw the workers and went outside “and asked the workers if he should move his car out of the way so the workers could get the brush better,” prosecutor David Uyar told a judge today.

“When he turned around, he saw the defendant who was up a little bit on the dirt road, he started to walk towards the defendant, when he passed about ten feet away the defendant fired twice on the victim, striking him both times, once in the abdomen and once in the head,” the prosecutor said. “He was pronounced dead on the scene.”

The prosecutor seemed to suggest that John Charles Upton, Jr. was not armed, “The victim was found only with a cell phone,” the deputy district attorney said.

“Then the victim’s girlfriend heard the gunshots, she came out of the house, the workers who were now leaving the scene pointed her in the direction of the victim. When she got there, she was getting closer to the victim’s body as it lay there, the defendant pointed the weapon at her and told her not to come any closer. She put her hands up and ran back to the house,” prosecutor David Uyar said.

Michael Vilkin was arrested late that same afternoon, March 28, 2013, by Encinitas Sheriff’s deputies. Vilkin was brought into court today, April 2, to hear the charges against him. He faces one charge of murder and one charge of assault with a deadly weapon on the girlfriend.

Both Michael Vilkin and the girlfriend, named as Evelyn Zeller in the charging document, are said to have dialed 911; the prosecutor would not discuss the emergency recordings today.

The weapon was described as a black, long-barreled revolver.

Vilkin pleads not guilty, and is represented by public defender Lacey Martz. He is held in lieu of $5 million bail and is next due in San Diego’s North County Superior Courthouse on April 10, 2013.

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Eva Knott Sept. 24, 2013 @ 3:17 a.m.

Update: Judge Sim von Kalinowski ordered Vilkin to face both charges, murder and assault with a deadly weapon, after a hearing on September 23 2013. This means the judge found sufficient evidence to order the matter to proceed to trial.


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