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A man found shot to death might have put up his arm trying to block the final bullet, based on information contained in a medical examiner’s report, just released.

An autopsy was performed on John Charles Upton, 56, the day after deputies found him lying on the ground at 2902 Lone Jack Road in Encinitas. First responders declared Upton deceased on the scene, the morning of March 28, 2013.

The report stated that Upton died of a bullet wound to his head, the projectile entered his right forehead and traveled left, front to back and slightly upward, exiting the back of his head. There was also a “deep graze wound of right forearm;” from which investigators were able to recover a “small metal fragment.”

Upton also suffered one bullet wound to the center of his abdomen, the bullet entered above the belly button, traveled front to back and left to right, exiting out the “right flank.”

No soot nor stippling was found on any of the wounds.

No alcohol nor drugs were found in the deceased man’s body, according to a toxicology report.

San Diego County prosecutors have charged Michael Vilkin, 61, with first-degree murder of Upton. Vilkin is also charged with assault-with-a-deadly-weapon for allegedly pointing a revolver at Upton’s girlfriend, Evelyn Zeller, when she came out to investigate the gunshots. Upton lived in a rented home with his girlfriend and her son at 2916 Lone Jack Road, which abutted a property owned by Vilkin, according to officials.

Vilkin pleads not guilty to all charges through a public defender, and is currently held in lieu of $5 million bail.

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Eva Knott Sept. 24, 2013 @ 3:31 a.m.

The girlfriend of the man who was shot to death, Evelyn Zeller, testified at a hearing on September 23, 2013. She said of John Upton, "He was my partner, my boyfriend...two and a half years." Zeller said she was walking around their rented home that morning, looking for Upton, when she heard shots outside. Zeller said she went outside and saw a man lying on the ground some distance away and started walking in that direction, but didn't recognize John Upton until she was just feet away. "I saw him lying in his blood." Evelyn Zeller said she didn't notice Michael Vilkin until he spoke to her, "He said, don't get any fxxking closer." She said Vilkin was holding a large revolver in one hand, and a black plastic box in the other hand. "He was pointing his gun at my chest." Zeller said she ran back to her home and dialed 911.


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