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San Diego Architect's Killer Gets 15 Years to Life

Higinio Salgado, 32, was convicted in April of second-degree murder in the 2013 death of 56-year-old Graham Downes.

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.
Written by Kelly Wheeler 

A manager who beat his well-known architect boss to death after a night of partying and drinking was sentenced today to 15 years to life in state prison.

Higinio Salgado, 32, was convicted in April of second-degree murder in the 2013 death of 56-year-old Graham Downes.

Deputy District Attorney Amy Maund said Salgado -- a facilities manager - - was angry over the possibility that a former supervisor could be coming back to work for Downes' company.

Superior Court Judge Joan Weber said she couldn't understand the "senseless and disturbing killing," given the fact that Downes gave Salgado every opportunity to thrive despite some calling for the defendant's firing.

"He (Downes) was the man who stuck with you," the judge told the defendant.

Weber said alcohol was not an excuse for the killing and Salgado needed to be held accountable for his actions.

Friends and family described Downes as "opinionated" "prickly" and "hard to get along with," but a man "fierce in his convictions."

Before he was sentenced, Salgado apologized to the victim's family.

"I know Graham Downes was a great man," the defendant said. "I admired him. I know God is looking after him in heaven."

After a night of drinking on April 18, 2013, which included a happy hour hosted by Downes and a trip to a bar, Salgado pummeled the victim with 17-21 blows to the head on the sidewalk in front of the architect's Bankers Hill home on West Juniper Street, Maund told the jury.

The defendant, a former maintenance man, became angry when the name of his former supervisor, Simon Terry-Lloyd, was brought up, Maund said.

Salgado had seen Downes meeting with Terry-Lloyd the day before and assumed his former supervisor was coming back to work at the firm, according to court testimony.

When Downes and Salgado went outside about 1 a.m. to say goodbye to the last party guests, the victim and the defendant got into a fight, the prosecutor said.

Salgado and Downes were involved in a "one-sided" fight, with Downes' head being pounded into the cement, she said.

Police arrived to find the Downes severely injured and Salgado next to him, face-down with his arm around Downes. Paramedics were able to get a pulse on Downes, but he was declared brain dead about 3 a.m. and removed from life support a few days later.

—City News Service

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