Preliminary hearing for man accused killing his girlfriend
EL CAJON—The preliminary hearing for a Potrero man accused of killing his girlfriend after he lit a homemade cannon was delayed Monday to October 17 because the same sheriff’s homicide detective was testifying in another murder case Monday.
Detective Suzanne Fiske investigated the case of Richard Dale Fox, 39, who is charged with murder and exploding a destructive device causing death to his girlfriend, Jeannette Ogara, 38.
She died when shrapnel was hurled into their mobile home around midnight on March 6. Fox is also accused of child endangerment of his 4-year-old daughter who was sleeping in the same room, but was uninjured.
Fiske was to testify Monday in the murder case against Gary Allen Thomas, 63, of Ramona, who is charged with beating his neighbor, Mary Jean Eskridge, 94, to death with a hammer on May 1.
Fiske handled both homicide cases, and Deputy District Attorney C.J. Mody said her testimony is needed in both, which is why Fox got a new preliminary hearing date.
Fox has pleaded not guilty to the charges. He told a 911 dispatcher “I lit this stupid homemade cannon” with fireworks “and it went off and blew (a hole) through the side of my house.” It occurred in the 24000 block of Potrero Valley Road.
The medical examiner’s office listed the manner of death as accidental, but also noted the sheriff’s department has investigated it as a homicide. Fox told the dispatcher he had been drinking alcohol before the cannon exploded. He remains in jail on $3.5 million bail.