EL CAJON, Calif. -- A resident at an East County independent-living group home accused of fatally beating another man in the face and head with a frying pan pleaded not guilty Thursday to a murder charge.
Brad Masaru Payton, 25, was ordered held in lieu of $2 million bail in the death of Matthew McCarthy.
Payton faces 26 years to life in prison if convicted, said San Diego County Deputy District Attorney Carlos Campbell.
Police said the violence at the transitional group home in the 1200 block of Naranca Avenue in El Cajon was reported shortly before 5 a.m. on Dec. 20. Patrol officers arrived to find a badly beaten McCarthy in a bedroom at the residence, said El Cajon Police Lt. Walt Miller. Medics took the victim to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Payton was arrested without incident.
According to Miller, the victim and the defendant knew each other and lived in separate rooms in the home. Witnesses said the two were arguing for unknown reasons just before Payton allegedly attacked McCarthy with a blunt object, which turned out to be a frying pan, Miller said.
Payton will be back in court Jan. 7 for a readiness conference and Jan. 10 for a preliminary hearing.