Escondido man accused of mentioning slaying on Snapchat pleads not guilty

VISTA, Calif. - A 19-year-old man accused of killing an acquaintance during an alcohol-fueled fight, then dumping the victim's body in Valley Center and mentioning the slaying on the social media app Snapchat, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a charge of murder.

Salvador Sanchez

Salvador Alejandro Sanchez of Escondido was arrested Sunday on suspicion of murdering Maithem Alfuraiji, 20, three days earlier. The cause and circumstances surrounding his death have not been made public.

The night of the murder, friends of the victim saw Snapchat posts from the suspect alluding to a possible homicide.

“There were audio recordings of what we assume is Maithem crying. Salvador is yelling -- it's all black -- yelling  ‘You know why I’m doing this’ – yelling at Maithem while he’s crying," said Alex Gendron, a friend of Alfuraiji.

When they didn’t hear from Alfuraiji Friday, friends say they went to Sanchez’s home Saturday and that’s when Sanchez confessed to killing their friend.

“He has no remorse – he doesn’t feel bad. He feels justified to murder his friend -- who was begging him to stop," said Gendron.

Without elaborating, Deputy District Attorney Claudia Plascencia said details of the case were still emerging. A preliminary hearing was set for May 16.

The body of Alfuraiji, an Escondido resident, was discovered Sunday. Sanchez was taken into custody in the vicinity of Ash Street and Grand Avenue that afternoon, Murphy said.

Maithem Alfuraiji

Anyone with information on the case was asked to call Detective John O'Donnell at (760) 839-4756, or the Escondido Police Department's anonymous tip line at (760) 743-8477.

Sanchez -- who's being held on $2 million bail -- faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted.

He will be back in court May 11 for a readiness conference.

An online fundraiser has been set up to help pay for funeral costs for Alfuraiji.