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SAN DIEGO — A manager who beat his well-known architect boss to death after a night of partying and drinking was sentenced Tuesday to 15 years to life in state prison.

Higinio Salgado, 32, was convicted in April of second-degree murder in the 2013 death of 56-year-old Graham Downes.

Deputy District Attorney Amy Maund said Salgado — a facilities manager – - was angry over the possibility that a former supervisor could be coming back to work for Downes’ company.

Higinio Salgado

Higinio Salgado listens during his sentencing on July 8, 2014.

Superior Court Judge Joan Weber said she couldn’t understand the “senseless and disturbing killing,” given the fact that Downes gave Salgado every opportunity to thrive, even though he was urged by some to fire the defendant.

“He (Downes) was the man who stuck with you,” the judge told the defendant.

Weber said alcohol was not an excuse for the killing and Salgado needed to be held accountable for his actions.

Friends and family described Downes as “opinionated,” “prickly” and “hard to get along with,” but a man “fierce in his convictions.”

One of the victim’s several brothers said he misses Graham every day.

“A light has gone off in our world,” Paul Downes said. “He was our captain.”

One by one friends and family talked of his love of architecture and the sport of rugby, describing a charismatic and loyal friend – who at times could be stubborn and opinionated.

“He was impatient and short if you were not direct,” said Paul Downes. “But if you were in need he would freely give you his most precious commodity – not money but his time.”

The victim’s architectural firm was known for design work on high-profile boutique hotel and restaurant projects, including the Tower 23 hotel in Pacific Beach. He was also passionate about revitalizing Barrio Logan.

Executives for the company had to lay off workers and begin the process of shutting down the firm after his death, said Alix Veen, the executor of Downes’ estate.

Downes’ girlfriend of 12 years, Tracy Borkum, said he was a man “larger than life.”

“No one was too great or too small for Graham’s attention,” she said.

Before he was sentenced, Salgado apologized to the victim’s family.

“I know Graham Downes was a great man,” the defendant said. “I admired him. I know God is looking after him in heaven.”

Before being sentenced Salgado apologized to the Downes family, but maintained his defense – that he had blacked out during the altercation.

“Like many of you,” he said. “I still don’t know what happen that night.”

Salgado’s brother, Victor Soriano, said the defendant — who was the first in his family to graduate from college and had recently gotten married — was “kind-hearted,” the opposite of how he was portrayed in public.

Defense attorney Jose Badillo said his client “was living the American dream.”

But after a night of drinking on April 18, 2013, which included a happy hour hosted by Downes and a trip to a bar, Salgado pummeled the victim with 17 to 21 blows to the head on the sidewalk in front of the architect’s Bankers Hill home on West Juniper Street, Maund said.

The defendant, a former maintenance man, became angry when the name of his former supervisor, Simon Terry-Lloyd, was brought up, Maund said.

Salgado had seen Downes meeting with Terry-Lloyd the day before and assumed his former supervisor was coming back to work at the firm, according to court testimony.

When Downes and Salgado went outside about 1 a.m. to say goodbye to the last party guests, the victim and the defendant got into a “one-sided” fight, with Downes’ head being pounded into the cement, she said.

Police arrived to find the Downes severely injured and Salgado next to him, face-down with his arm around his employer. Paramedics were able to get a pulse, but Downes was declared brain-dead about 3 a.m. and removed from life support a few days later.

 

City News Service contributed to this report.

SAN DIEGO — A facilities manager for a prominent architect was convicted of second-degree murder Thursday for beating his boss to death.

accused of beating his architect bossHiginio Salgado, 32, was angry over the possibility that a former supervisor could be coming back to work for the firm of Graham Downes, according to Deputy District Attorney Amy Maund.

“This defendant beat, tortured and killed a defenseless human being,” Maund told jurors last week in her opening statement.

After a night of drinking on April 18, 2013, which included a happy hour hosted by Downes and a trip to a bar, Salgado pummeled the victim with 17 to 21 blows to the head on the sidewalk in front of the architect’s Bankers Hill residence on West Juniper Street, Maund told the jury.

Downes, 56, “died on the street, on the cold cement,” the prosecutor said.

The defendant, a former maintenance man, became angry when the name of his former supervisor, Simon Terry-Lloyd, was brought up, Maund said.

“Graham Downes did nothing wrong the night of his death,” Maund said, telling jurors that when Terry-Lloyd’s name was mentioned, Salgado exclaimed, “(Expletive) him! (Expletive) that guy!”

Salgado, who faces 15 years to life in prison when sentenced by Judge Joan Weber on June 6, had seen Downes meeting with Terry-Lloyd the day before and assumed his former supervisor was coming back to work at the architectural firm, according to court testimony.

“The defendant couldn’t let it go,” Maund told the jury.

When Downes and Salgado went outside about 1 a.m. to say goodbye to the last party guests, the victim and the defendant got into a violent confrontation, the prosecutor said.

A neighbor was awakened by the sound of men arguing and looked out to see a man in a blue shirt, identified as Salgado, on top of the other man, Maund said.

Salgado and Downes were involved in a “one-sided” fight, with Downes’ head being pounded into the cement, she said.

Police arrived to find the victim severely injured and the defendant lying next to him, face-down with his arm around Downes. Paramedics on the scene were able to get a pulse on Downes, but he was declared brain dead about 3 a.m. and was taken off life support a few days later.

Defense attorney Jamahl Kersey said Downes’ death was “unfortunate,” but wasn’t a murder.

Kersey said prosecutors wouldn’t be able to show what happened leading up to the fight and wouldn’t be able to prove that Salgado was guilty of murder.

The attorney said Downes was a demanding boss who promoted a “work hard, play hard” atmosphere at his firm.

Before the fight, Downes assured Salgado that Terry-Lloyd wasn’t coming back to work there, Kersey told the jury.

Kersey said his client was extremely intoxicated the night of the altercation, with a blood-alcohol level estimated to be more than .20 percent.

SAN DIEGO — A facilities manager for a prominent architect beat his boss to death after becoming angry over the possibility that a former supervisor could be coming back to work for the firm, a prosecutor said today.

Higinio Salgado, 32, is charged with first-degree murder in the April 18, 2013, death of 56-year-old Graham Downes.

“This defendant beat, tortured and killed a defenseless human being,” Deputy District Attorney Amy Maund told jurors in her opening statement.

graham downes

Graham Downes

After a night of drinking, which included a happy hour hosted by Downes and a trip to a bar, Salgado pummeled the victim with 17 to 21 blows to the head on the sidewalk in front of the architect’s Bankers Hill residence on West Juniper Street, Maund told the jury.

Downes “died on the street, on the cold cement,” the prosecutor said.

The defendant, a former maintenance man, became angry when the name of his former supervisor, Simon Terry-Lloyd, was brought up, Maund said.

“Graham Downes did nothing wrong the night of his death,” Maund said, telling jurors that when Terry-Lloyd’s name was mentioned, Salgado exclaimed, “(Expletive) him! (Expletive) that guy!”

Salgado had seen Downes meeting with Terry-Lloyd the day before and assumed his former supervisor was coming back to work at the architectural firm, according to court testimony.

“The defendant couldn’t let it go,” Maund told the jury.

When Downes and Salgado went outside about 1 a.m. to say goodbye to the last party guests, the victim and the defendant got into a violent confrontation, the prosecutor said.

A neighbor was awakened by the sound of men arguing and looked out to see a man in a blue shirt, identified as Salgado, on top of the other man, Maund said.

Salgado and Downes were involved in a “one-sided” fight, with Downes’ head being pounded into the cement, she said.

Police arrived to find the victim severely injured and the defendant lying next to him, face-down with his arm around Downes. Paramedics on the scene were able to get a pulse on Downes, but he was declared brain dead about 3 a.m. and was taken off life support a few days later.

Defense attorney Jamahl Kersey said Downes’ death was “unfortunate,” but wasn’t a murder.

Kersey said prosecutors wouldn’t be able to show what happened leading up to the fight and wouldn’t be able to prove that Salgado was guilty of murder.

The attorney said Downes was a demanding boss who promoted a “work hard, play hard” atmosphere at his firm.

Before the fight, Downes assured Salgado that Terry-Lloyd wasn’t coming back to work there, Kersey told the jury.

Kersey said his client was extremely intoxicated the night of the altercation, with a blood-alcohol level estimated to be more than .20 percent.

The defense attorney said he will call an expert to testify about how alcohol consumption can cause a person to become confused and disoriented.

GrahamDownes

Photo: Blokhaus Facebook page

SAN DIEGO — A property manager accused of fatally beating his boss, a prominent architect, during a fight at a party at the victim’s Bankers Hill home was charged Friday with murder.

Higinio Soriano Salgado, 31, was initially charged Tuesday with attempted murder because the victim, 56-year-old Graham Downes, had not been declared legally dead.

Downes died Wednesday after being taken off life support.

Salgado allegedly inflicted major head injuries on Downes about 1 a.m. last Friday during a party at the victim’s home in the 200 block of West Juniper Street.

Patrol officers responding to a reported disturbance found the two men on the ground in front of the architect’s residence. Downes was unconscious with severe facial and head injuries.

Higinio Soriano Salgado

Higinio Soriano Salgado is charged with murder in the death of Graham Downes.

At the defendant’s initial arraignment, Deputy District Attorney Amy Maund told Judge David Szumowski that Salgado, a property manager for the victim’s company, beat Downes, fracturing his skull in several places.

The prosecutor successfully argued that Salgado be held on $3 million bail, telling the judge that the defendant was a potential flight risk because he has ties to Mexico and is building a home there.

Salgado will be back in court May 29 for a readiness conference and June 11 for a preliminary hearing.

Graham Downes Architecture is well known for its work at several local hotels and restaurants, including Tom Ham’s Lighthouse, the Bali Hai, Hotel La Jolla and the Hard Rock Hotel.

SAN DIEGO — An Encanto man accused of beating his boss, a prominent architect, during a fight and leaving the victim near death, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a charge of attempted murder.

accused of beating his architect boss

Higinio Soriano Salgado

Higinio Soriano Salgado, 31, allegedly inflicted major head injuries on 56-year-old Graham Downes about 1 a.m. Friday during a party at the victim’s home in the 200 block of West Juniper Street, according to San Diego police.

Patrol officers responding to a reported disturbance found the two men on the ground in front of the architect’s residence. Downes was unconscious with severe facial and head injuries.

“He was arrested for the senseless brutal beating that fractured the victim’s skull in several locations,” said Amy Maund, Deputy District Attorney.

Maund told the judge that because Downes has not been declared legally dead, prosecutors could not file a murder charge against Salgado. That is expected to happen by Friday, Maund told the judge.

The prosecutor successfully argued that Salgado be held on $3 million bail, telling the judge that the defendant was a potential flight risk because he has ties to Mexico and is building a home there.

GrahamDownes

Photo: Blokhaus Facebook page

Downes’ publicist, Danielle Gano, released a statement saying the victim’s family and friends had known him as “an exciting and adventurous man who did no less than devour life.”

“There were no half-measures in his world, and those who knew him socially surely have a memorable story to tell in which he is invariably at the center, but his heart’s passion was with the design practice he toiled so hard to create and grow, Graham Downes Architecture,” Gano said.

The firm is well-known for its work at several local hotels and restaurants, including Tom Ham’s Lighthouse, the Bali Hai, Hotel La Jolla and the Hard Rock Hotel.

“He was very unique, he always had a strong opinion about things,” said a former employee who wanted to remain unidentified.  He told Fox 5 there was a party Friday night at Downes’ home.

“neither one of them I can assume was in their best mental state at that moment.  It’s extremely sad.”

Salgado will be back in court Friday for a status conference. A readiness conference was set for May 29 and a preliminary hearing for June 11.

GrahamDownes

Photo: Blokhaus Facebook page

SAN DIEGO — A San Diego architect known for his many urban projects died in a hospital over the weekend after he was beaten, allegedly by a 31-year-old employee, who was jailed Monday.

Higinio Soriano Salgado, 31, allegedly inflicted mortal injuries on 56-year-old Graham Downes about 1 a.m. Friday during a house party in the 200 block of West Juniper Street, according to San Diego police.

Patrol officers responding to a reported disturbance found the two men on the ground in front of the architect’s residence. Downes was unconscious with severe facial and head injuries.

Salgado, a property manager for the victim’s company, was questioned and then booked into county jail.

Medics took Downes to Scripps Mercy Hospital, where he was admitted in critical condition. He succumbed to his injuries late Sunday morning.

His publicist, Danielle Gano, released a statement saying Downes’ family and friends had known him as “an exciting and adventurous man who did no less than devour life.”

“There were no half-measures in his world, and those who knew him socially surely have a memorable story to tell in which he is invariably at the center, but his heart’s passion was with the design practice he toiled so hard to create and grow, Graham Downes Architecture,” Gano said.

The firm is well-known for its work at several local hotels and restaurants, including Tom Ham’s Lighthouse, the Bali Hai, Hotel La Jolla and the Hard Rock Hotel.

Salgado was being held without bail pending arraignment, scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.

 

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