A man accused of fatally beating a Menifee car wash manager in the mistaken belief that the victim had stolen from him will have to stay in jail, after failing Thursday to convince a judge that his $1 million bail was excessive.
Jeremy Joseph Robbins, 37, of Lancaster could face 25 years to life in prison if convicted in the March death of Wesley Uyekawa.
Robbins appeared Thursday before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Becky Dugan for a bail-setting conference. Deputy Public Defender Michael Micallef had requested the hearing, making a motion that Dugan consider lowering his client's bond based on a lack of serious criminal history.
Dugan was not swayed by the argument, leaving the amount unchanged and scheduling a felony settlement conference in the case for July 24. Robbins is being held at the Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta.
According to sheriff's Lt. Joe Borja, the defendant and Uyekawa did not know one another, and their presumed first encounter was the day of the alleged attack.
Borja said that on the evening of March 22, Robbins visited the self- serve car wash that Uyekawa managed near Interstate 215 and McCall Boulevard. The defendant had removed dry-cleaning from his vehicle and placed it a short distance away while he vacuumed the interior of his car.
"The suspect unknowingly left the clothing behind when he drove away from the location," Borja said.
According to the sheriff's Central Homicide Unit spokesman, Robbins returned about 10 a.m. the following day to retrieve the articles, but they had been snatched by another car wash customer.
"He accused the victim of taking the clothes, but the victim didn't know anything about it," Borja said.
An argument ensued, and Robbins allegedly punched and threw the 60-year- old Uyekawa to the ground.
Deputies were called to the location a short time later and took a report from the victim before he was hospitalized for extreme abdominal pain, according to sheriff's Sgt. Ray Huskey.
Uyekawa left the hospital later that day. Around 9:30 a.m. on March 24, one of Uyekawa's co-workers discovered him dead on the floor of his apartment, located at the business, according to Huskey.
He said evidence indicated that the victim "died due to medical complications attributed to the initial assault."
Relying on surveillance video captured by cameras at the location, investigators were able to identify Robbins as the alleged assailant and arrested him a few days later at his Lancaster home.
- Menifee Store Clerk Found Dead at Business, A Day After Assault
- Man Charged in Fatal Beating at Menifee Business
– City News Service.