Accused machete killer held without bail

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SAN DIEGO -- A man accused of hacking a man to death with a machete last month during an argument at a Rolando home pleaded not guilty Monday to a murder charge.

Vincent Salas Garza, 22, was ordered held without bail in the Nov. 5 death of 43-year-old Vincente Carrera.

Garza changed clothes after the killing and fled to Phoenix, Arizona, where he was arrested a week later, Deputy District Attorney David McNees alleged. Garza initially fought extradition but was returned to San Diego on Friday, the prosecutor said.

McNees said the victim's name is on Garza's birth certificate, but there are indications he's not his father.

The prosecutor said the two were staying together at the home on Waite Drive, but their exact relationship wasn't clear. Police said Carrera did not live at the residence but was a regular visitor.

Carrera's body was found on an enclosed back patio of the residence the morning of Nov. 6. Investigators believe the victim was killed around 10 p.m. the night before with a machete, which was recovered.

McNees alleged that Garza struck the victim with a fatal blow to the back of the neck and delivered other blows to the face.

In a police bulletin issued last month, Garza was described as a heavy methamphetamine user who was known to be violent and carry knives.

Garza will return to court Dec. 14 for a readiness conference and Dec. 18 for a preliminary hearing. He faces 26 years to life in prison if convicted.

Garza’s mother Nancy Tijerina told FOX 5 that in her heart of hearts, she knows her son is innocent.

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