Man pleads not guilty in Ramona hatchet attack

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Court, gavel, trialEL CAJON, Calif. — A man accused of using a hatchet to damage a stranger’s home in Ramona, then turning the weapon on a neighbor and his vehicle, pleaded not guilty Monday five charges, including vandalism and assault with a deadly weapon.

Devin Michael Jones, 23, was ordered held in lieu of $75,000 bail.

According to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, the non-injury fracas began in the 600 block of B Street about 6 a.m. last Thursday.

A resident went outside to investigate what sounded like someone pounding on the outside of his house and was confronted by a combative man he didn’t know. An argument ensued, prompting a neighbor to threaten to call 911 if the disturbance continued, sheriff’s Sgt. Kurt Torsak said.

The aggressor responded by charging him, clutching a hatchet, the sergeant said. The victim fled, got into his truck and locked it as the assailant whacked on the driver’s side door and shouted profanities for a time, then ran off, Torsak said.

Deputies sealed off the area and searched it, eventually finding and arresting the suspect, who was identified as Jones.

Investigators later learned an air-conditioning unit, exterior wall and garage door at the home of the person initially targeted was bashed, dented and smashed up.

“The damage appeared to have been caused by a hatchet,” the sergeant said.

In addition to two counts of assault and one count of felony vandalism, Jones is charged with trying to dissuade a victim from reporting a crime and a misdemeanor count of being under the influence. He faces five years and eight months in prison if convicted, said Deputy District Attorney Andy Aguilar.

Judge Charles Ervin set a readiness conference for Nov. 7 and a preliminary hearing for Nov. 12.

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