Trial date set for man accused of attacking homeless with railroad spikes

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Jon David Guerrero is scheduled to stand trial on June 1, 2020.

SAN DIEGO — A June 1 trial date was set Wednesday for a man accused of attacking more than a half-dozen mostly homeless victims in San Diego neighborhoods in 2016, resulting in four deaths.

Jon David Guerrero, 42, is facing 15 felony counts, including murder, arson, attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon, stemming from the spree of attacks that occurred over about a five-month span in 2016.

Prosecutors have yet to decide whether to pursue capital punishment against Guerrero, who also faces a special circumstance allegation of committing multiple murders.

The trial is expected to last around four weeks at the downtown San Diego courthouse.

Guerrero’s case has been delayed by numerous mental competency proceedings and multiple stays at Patton State Hospital. He was deemed mentally competent to stand trial in June.

In the interim, Guerrero will remain at Patton State Hospital until his next court date, a Jan. 28 status conference.

The defendant is accused of setting some of the victims on fire, while others were impaled with railroad spikes.

Prosecutors allege Guerrero’s crime spree began on Feb. 8, 2016, when he allegedly stabbed a man who was sleeping on a sidewalk. That victim survived his injuries.

The rest of the crimes he’s charged with committing occurred in July of that year, beginning with the July 3 burning death of Angelo De Nardo, 53, whose body was found underneath an Interstate 5 offramp near the 2700 block of Morena Boulevard in Bay Park. Witnesses described seeing a man running across the freeway near Claremont Drive, carrying a gas can.

The following day, Shawn Mitchell Longley, 41, was found dead at a park on Bacon Street in Ocean Beach. Investigators believe Guerrero attacked Longley with a railroad spike while the victim was sleeping.

Another transient was severely injured near Valley View Casino Center in the Midway district on the same day Longley’s body was found.

On the morning of July 6, Dionicio Derek Vahidy, 23, was gravely injured in downtown San Diego by an assailant who fled after leaving a towel burning on top of him. Vahidy died in a hospital four days later.

Another attack happened shortly after 4:30 a.m. July 15, when two San Diego Harbor Police officers in a squad car in the 1800 block of C Street heard someone underneath Interstate 5 in the East Village yelling for help. The officers pulled over and found a 55-year-old homeless man suffering from “significant trauma” to his upper body.

The defendant was arrested the same day. Guerrero — who was on a bicycle — had a backpack containing a large mallet with apparent blood stains, along with three railroad spikes, prosecutor Makenzie Harvey alleged.

In the months following his arrest, investigators revealed that Guerrero is also suspected of fatally injuring 83-year-old Molly Simons on July 13, 2016, in a North Park alley. Police said Simons was not homeless and lived with her husband.

There are no indications that the suspect knew the victims, according to police.

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