SAN DIEGO -- One of two people arrested in connection with the stabbing death of a South Bay man whose body was discovered inside a barrel floating near the surface of San Diego Bay pleaded not guilty Thursday to a charge of being an accessory after the fact.
Derrick Jefferson Spurgeon, 38, of El Cajon, was ordered held on $500,000 bail. A judge set a status conference for Dec. 27 and a preliminary hearing for Dec. 29.
Spurgeon and 52-year-old Timothy John Cook of Chula Vista were taken into custody about 4:30 a.m. Wednesday in connection with the mysterious death of 28-year-old Omar Medina, police said.
Prosecutors confirmed Thursday that Medina had been stabbed 66 times. Medina's body was found by a diver on Oct. 12, stuffed inside a 55-gallon drum that was anchored to cinder blocks. Medina, a music producer from Chula Vista, had been reported missing by friends and family who had not seen him since Sept. 30.
Spurgeon is accused of helping place Medina's body in the barrel.
"The victim in this case was stabbed 66 times. He was then placed in a drum with the help of Mr. Spurgeon and dumped in the bay," Deputy District Attorney Cherie Somerville said.
Investigators assigned to the case also served search warrants at a pair of residences on Rios Canyon Road in El Cajon and McIntosh Street in Chula Vista Wednesday morning.
Cook, who is accused of stabbing Medina to death, is expected to be arraigned Friday on a murder charge.