Accused houseguest killer set for trial

Opening statements are expected to begin this week in the trial of a San Mateo man accused of bludgeoning a houseguest to death three years ago.

Cesar Agusto King, 27, is charged with murder and the use of a deadly weapon in connection with the death of a 25-year-old man, identified by Deputy District Attorney Sean Gallagher as Samuel Vasquez.

King was a resident at a San Mateo apartment complex when one of his roommates invited Vasquez, a cousin from Guatemala, to stay with them in their apartment, Gallagher said.

Vasquez had only been living at the residence for a few days when, on June 30, 2004, he and King got into a drunken altercation, according to prosecutors.

“It was just a good old-fashioned fist fight, but [Vasquez] clearly beat the tar out of Mr. King,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

King left the apartment, but came back hours later, when he allegedly began beating Vasquez about the head with a block of wood, fracturing his skull and causing injuries that led to his death, according to prosecutors.

Investigators responded to the residence, an apartment at 102 S. Idaho St., about 6 p.m. to a report of an unconscious person, but instead discovered Vasquez’s body, according to San Mateo police.

Police apprehended and arrested King in the area approximately two hours later.

King’s defense attorney, Patrick Concannon, was not immediately available for comment. Wagstaffe said prosecutors are anticipating a self-defense argument from King’s counsel.

San Mateo Superior Court Judge Craig Parsons told potential jurors that King’s case is not a death penalty case, and that testimony would last for approximately three weeks.

King, who does not have a previous arrest record in San Mateo County, could possibly face 16 years to life in prison if he is convicted of the charges, according to prosecutors.

tbarak@examiner.com

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