Murder charges filed after architect dies

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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.