Suspect in Stabbing Death of Ocean Beach’s ‘Incense Man’ Set for Trial

by on August 9, 2018 · 0 comments

in Ocean Beach

The 20-year old suspect in the fatal stabbing attack against Walter “Ras” Riley, 65, “the Incense Man” , was ordered to stand trial on Wednesday, August 8. After a 2-day Preliminary Hearing, San Diego Superior Court Judge Steven Stone found sufficient evidence against Noah Jackson for his case to proceed further.

Riley, 65, known around OB for selling incense, was stabbed on Bacon Street about 12:20 a.m. on June 22, 2017. Surveillance videos captured part of the attack and surveillance and photos were made public in an effort to determine who the man was in the vids and photos.

In February, San Diego detectives arrested Jackson at a Huntington Beach medical facility (we don’t know why he was in the facility), partly due to tips to Crime Stoppers.

If convicted, Jackson could face 26 years to life in prison.

During the Prelim (mandatory for all felony charges), the prosecution presented surveillance images of a youngish man in a light-colored hoodie who knifed Riley, and then walked down Newport Avenue moments later, using a cellphone..

Noah Jackson

The Prelim had several witnesses brought forward by the prosecutor – no witnesses were presented by the Defense as normally the Defense doesn’t present evidence during preliminary hearings as it’s up to the prosecution to present enough evidence to bind the suspect over for trial.

In the first day of the hearing, Caleb Wooldridge, 19, the first witness, after looking at a security camera photo of a guy thought to be the assailant, blurted out “That’s not Noah.” But Wooldridge had met Jackson for the first time only several hours before the knife attack.

Harrison Ellis, another witness, had more substance to testify about. Ellis, a childhood friend of Jackson, denied on the stand that he told detectives he could identify Jackson. Questioned more by Deputy District Attorney Michael Reilly, Ellis testified Jackson said to him he “couldn’t take it any more” after hearing people on the street upset about Riley’s death; it “ate him alive,” Ellis said.

Ellis also said Jackson told him he “poked” Riley because Riley was with Jackson’s girlfriend.

Another witness,  Jamie Hill, testified he had seen the attack and had chased after the killer, but lost him after a couple of blocks.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported:

An informant later talked to Jackson while wearing a recording device at the request of police. In the recording, the prosecutor said, Jackson said his sister had been insulted and spat on by Riley, so he walked up to Riley “and handled it.”

Prosecutor Michael Reilly told the judge some surveillance video shows the killer, a slim man in a hoodie, jeans and gray shoes, walking to the crime scene and away from it. Reilly also said Jackson made incriminating statements that placed him near where Riley was found, bleeding. Also at least one tipster to Crime Stoppers identified Jackson as possibly the man in those photos.

Photos of suspect from surveillance video moments after attack.

On Jackson’s side, well-known defense attorney Eugene Iredale told the court most of the witnesses testified that Jackson does not look like the hooded suspect in security photos, and that Jackson was using his cellphone at different times from the suspect.

Iredale said police got the wrong man. At 12:25 a.m. – the moment police heard from a 911 caller that people were chasing a man who attacked a transient, Jackson was on his cellphone talking to a friend, Iredale said, and it would have been impossible for Jackson to be on his cellphone while running hard down a street. Iredale told Judge Stone the surveillance video shows the man in the hoodie apparently texting on his cellphone. And he said, “There were no texts on Noah Jackson’s phone after midnight.”

It’s unclear how Iredale could make those arguments without putting on some evidence. At times defense attorneys do put on evidence during a Prelim in an attempt to knock the prosecution case out of court or down to a misdemeanor (this reporter – also an attorney – has done that several times and won the prelims).

The trial date has probably not been firmly set yet, as this is a murder case.

More from:

San Diego Union-Tribune

 

 

 

 

 

 

The hearing is exp

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