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Inmate accused of stomping cellmate to death

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SAN DIEGO — A 23-year-old inmate accused of fatally beating a 69-year-old cell mate at the downtown San Diego jail pleaded not guilty Thursday to a murder charge.

Joshua David McDaniels was ordered held on $1 million bail in the death of Francis Fernandez.

Deputy District Attorney Jalyn Wang said McDaniels was in custody for being under the influence of drugs and Fernandez was in jail on drunk in public charges.

The prosecutor said a sheriff’s deputy came upon Fernandez on the ground about 7:20 p.m. last Friday and witnessed McDaniels stomp the victim five times in the head.

Fernandez was pronounced dead at a hospital two days later, Wang said.

Sheriff’s deputies said the attack on Fernandez was unprovoked.

McDaniels will be back in court Oct. 22 for a status conference. A preliminary hearing is set for Oct. 28.