A man who allegedly inflicted ultimately fatal injuries on a Menifee car wash manager, after wrongly accusing the victim of stealing his property, was charged Tuesday with second-degree murder.
Jeremy Joseph Robbins, 37, of Lancaster was arrested Thursday in connection with the death of Wesley Uyekawa.
Robbins made his initial court appearance before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Becky Dugan, who appointed him a public defender and set bail at $100,000. The defendant's arraignment was rescheduled to April 7.
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, Borja said.
"The suspect unknowingly left the clothing behind when he drove away from the location," Borja told City News Service.
According to the sheriff's Central Homicide Unit spokesman, Robbins returned around 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 transported to a hospital 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.
"After additional investigation, it appears that Mr. Uyekawa died due to medical complications attributed to the initial assault," Huskey said.
Evidence collected at the scene helped identify Robbins as the alleged assailant, according to Borja. Security surveillance cameras are located on- site, but Borja could not confirm whether they captured the assault.
Detectives obtained an arrest warrant and tracked Robbins to his residence at 44223 Gillan Ave., where he was taken into custody without incident.
Robbins is being held at the Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta.
– City News Service.