Baseball bat spells the end for Tijuana neighbor

Killed over barking dogs, broken windows

A 56-year-old Tijuana man has been jailed on murder charges after allegedly beating his neighbor to death with a bat in a dispute over barking dogs.

According to press accounts in El Sol de Tijuana and El Mexicano, Jorge Morales Soto told homicide investigators he had been quarreling with neighbor Armando Bonilla Arredondo, 63, for more than three years over various matters, principally the incessant barking of Bonilla's dogs. Both men lived in homes near the intersection of Ignacio Altamirano and Mulegé streets in the Soler neighborhood.

About a month ago, Morales reportedly told police that Bonilla had broken out some of the windows of his home with rocks in retaliation for Morales’s complaints over the barking dogs; since then, Morales had been insisting that Bonilla pay for repairs.

"I'm not going to pay you anything," Bonilla replied, according to Morales’s account to police. "Do whatever you want to do." About ten minutes before 8 on the morning of September 18, newspaper accounts say, Bonilla's rock-throwing resumed, prompting Morales to grab a bat and confront his neighbor outside.

Morales told police that Bonilla was carrying a hammer when the confrontation began. He said he began beating Bonilla with the bat — in the head, on his legs, on his arms and on his ribs. When Bonilla fell to the ground, Morales tried to flee the area, but other neighbors had been watching the incident unfold and called police, according to press accounts.

Municipal police officers arrested Morales and turned him over to state authorities for prosecution. He is currently in the La Mesa state prison awaiting trial for murder. If convicted, Morales faces a sentence of up to 50 years.

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