Murder Suspect in Point Loma Shooting Pleads Non-Guilty Due to Self-Defense

by on July 1, 2016 · 4 comments

in Culture, Ocean Beach

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Memorial for Jess Robles near where he was shot.

This murder suspect in the June 22nd shooting in Point Loma pleaded not guilty to murder and a gun-use allegation at his arraignment in downtown San Diego, Thursday, June 30th.

Thomas Francis Burke, 32, arrested for the murder of Jess Matthew Robles, who was in his mid-30’s, is being held on $10 million bail. During the arraignment, Burke’s attorney said his client fired at Robles in self-defense.

Now that the suspect’s attorney and the prosecutor had their say in court, a picture of what was happening between Burke and Robles has emerged.

Thomas Burke PL mursusp

Thomas Burke

The prosecutor at the arraignment, Deputy District Attorney Kyle Sutterley, told Judge Frederick Maguire that Robles was the victim of an unprovoked attack and was “executed” on Burke’s doorstep which is along the 4100 block of Voltaire. Robles was shot once in the throat and once in the chest, and bled to death “essentially for no reason” Sutterley said.

Robles had come to the defendant’s door about 11:15 pm and banged on it, veteran criminal defense lawyer Tom Warwick, representing Burke, told the court. Warwick stated that his client had told his female roommate not to have her boyfriend – Robles – over to their apartment anymore. Warwick also said that someone had called Burke earlier and had threatened him. Warwick said:

“The victim was not supposed to come in. This is a case where somebody was invading his house.”

Witnesses have reportedly told police that the shooter opened his front door, fired twice and went inside. Police said that about 11:10 pm, they received a report of shots fired and a person down.

Sutterley, the prosecutor told the court that the defendant left the apartment after the shooting, and went to a hospital to meet with a friend. Burke works as a pharmacist.  Burke then went to downtown San Diego where he agreed to surrender to police after they contacted him on his cellphone. He was arrested very near police headquarters.

In the bail setting portion of the arraignment, Sutterley said that the suspect was a flight risk because he had access to substantial financial resources – police had found gold and silver bars in a safe at his Pacific Beach condo, and because he had ties to New Jersey, his home state.

Countering the high-bail request of the prosecution, Warwick said Burke was captain of his high school swimming team and had received his doctorate degree in pharmacy from Temple University, reiterating the self-defense theory of the defense.

Judge Maguire then set the bail for $10 million. The judge also ordered that Burke be prohibited from working as a pharmacist. Burke faces 50 years to life in prison if convicted.

The next appearance for Burke will be a July 22 status conference, and a preliminary hearing was set for August 11.

News sources:

Times of San Diego

San Diego Union-Tribune

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Avatar cc July 1, 2016 at 2:20 pm

seems odd that he didn’t stick around and call 911 himself to report it.

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Avatar Debra July 5, 2016 at 6:47 am

Or better yet, don’t open the door and then call 911, if he was so scared!!!

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Avatar Oh jeez... July 6, 2016 at 2:35 pm

“police had found gold and silver bars in a safe at his Pacific Beach condo, ”

Did he have 2 residences? One in Point Loma and one in PB?

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Avatar Jeni jordan July 16, 2016 at 10:42 am

Please call me.I was at Cleator and need to ask better HOW I as a Hare or Speidel Jordan could have gotten this man this alone with me sick and only other phone to get him help. 6193430770 Have talked to police but we’re detrimental and have asked for Atty assist and fear I will be killed by police in governmental action as found against them already

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