Murder conviction upheld in death of SDPD officer
SAN DIEGO — A state appeals court Friday upheld the murder conviction of a probationer who failed to tell authorities about armed people holed up in his apartment, leading to the shooting death of a San Diego police officer.
Alex Charfauros was convicted in 2013 of second-degree murder in the death three years earlier of Officer Christopher Wilson and was sentenced to 85 years to life in prison plus 11 years.
Charfauros appealed on five grounds, including a claim that there was insufficient evidence to support his convictions for murder, attempted murder and serious injury to a police dog.
A three-judge panel of the 4th District Court of Appeal rejected arguments that there was insufficient evidence to support the convictions and that the trial court erred in admitting certain testimony of law enforcement officers. The appeals court also rejected a claim that Judge Kenneth So improperly imposed an enhanced sentence for the attempted murder counts based on the findings that the attempted murder counts were willful, deliberate and premeditated.
The night of Oct. 27, 2010, probation officers and U.S. Marshals went to Charfauros’ apartment on South Meadowbrook Drive. Probation officers were checking on Charfauros, and the marshals were looking for Holim Lee, who had outstanding warrants for assault and a probation violation.
Outside the apartment, Charfauros was uncooperative when officers asked him if there were any guns, drugs or anyone else inside, said prosecutor Michael Runyon.
A number of officers were called to assist, including Wilson, Once inside, an officer kicked in the door of a bedroom and Wilson was shot and killed.
Charfauros had not told law enforcement that Lee and his girlfriend, Lucky Xayasene, were living in the apartment and that four guns and a shotgun were “waiting on those officers,” Runyon said. Charfauros also failed to tell officers that Patrick Luangrath and Melissa Ortiz were in the apartment.
The bodies of Lee — believed to be the shooter — and Xayasene were found in the west bedroom with self-inflicted gunshot wounds.