An intruder took a shotgun away from an Encinitas homeowner and then tried to kill him with it, according to an attorney who spoke in court yesterday, Wednesday, October 25.
Chuck Edward Neil, 43, pleaded not-guilty to assault and robbery and grand theft at his arraignment, but a private attorney for the victim’s family said Neil should be charged with attempted murder. Attorney Gregory Day spoke to the judge and asked for a criminal protective order for the family.
It was still dark last Saturday morning, about 5 a.m. on October 20, when Fred Weston saw an intruder on his one-acre property, according to a statement from the San Diego County Sheriff. Weston had recently installed a new surveillance system because of repeated thefts of copper wire from his property, the sheriff stated.
Fred Weston, 62, took his shotgun and went outside and found one intruder, who was in dark clothing, hiding in the bushes; the homeowner ordered the trespasser to march to the gate at the end of his property, according to the sheriff. But the trespasser grabbed the barrel of the shotgun and tried to take it; while the end of the barrel was pointed upward Weston fired one round, hoping it would scare away the stranger, the sheriff reported. However, the intruder was able to take the gun from Weston and smashed him in the face multiple times, breaking his nose and causing other damage, it is alleged.
The intruder began to choke the homeowner with the barrel of the shotgun across his throat, while Weston was on the ground, according to the Sheriff’s version.
Family attorney Gregory Day claimed that homeowner Weston was knocked unconcious, and the intruder chose to attempt murder on the helpless man, instead of taking that opportunity to flee.
Weston’s wife Lilibeth, 58, and his son Joseph, 18, saw the altercation on their surveillance system and got into the family truck; Mom drove the long driveway to the scene of the assault. The son was able to disable the stranger with a taser, and the family used a belt to hold him until deputies arrived. The sheriff’s statement declared: “Deputies found copper cable had been cut and was being collected nearby on the property.”
The Weston family has been growing flowers at their location in the 500 block of La Costa Avenue.
San Diego County Sheriff’s deputies described Neil as a transient from Escondido, 6 feet 2 inches tall and 170 pounds.
Public records show Neil’s arrest record in San Diego County began in January of 1999, when he was 23 years old; there are five cases listed.