Deputy District Attorney Brian Erickson told a judge the DNA of Christian Louis Ewing, 29, was found on the barrel of the bat that struck Gregory Freeman, who later died from head and facial injuries.
Erickson told San Diego Superior Court Judge Joseph Brannigan the 57-year-old victim’s DNA was also recovered from the bat, which was found at the scene on Rosecrans Street near Pacific Highway.
Erickson asked Brannigan to set bail at $1 million, which he did after Ewing’s attorney submitted the bail issue without argument. He was arrested Dec. 24 in the Midway area.
Ewing made a brief court appearance wearing green jail clothes in a wheelchair that he was strapped to and was handcuffed. He pleaded not guilty to a murder charge.
The arraignment Friday almost didn’t happen as Ewing resisted coming to court from his cell for the second day in a row. Brannigan ordered deputy sheriff’s to extract him from the cell by force if necessary to come to court.
Ewing was placed in a wheelchair simply because it is easier for deputies to push a reluctant inmate in a wheelchair than to try and walk him from the central jail into court. He’s not believed to be injured.
He did not sign a form saying he had been advised of his constitutional rights, but defense attorney Raymond Aragon told the judge Ewing could not sign it because he was handcuffed.
This is the second publicized case against Ewing as he was charged with felony assault in 2015 after he rushed the stage at Petco Park when singer Taylor Swift was performing a concert.
Ewing pleaded guilty to felony assault in causing the breaking of several ribs to a security guard who tackled Ewing on the stage on Aug. 29, 2015. He also pleaded guilty to resisting an executive officer in that incident.
Ewing was sent to Patton State Hospital in 2015 after he was determined to not be mentally competent to stand trial. After he recovered his mental competency, he was sentenced to almost two years he had spent in jail and at the psychiatric hospital.
Taylor was not hurt in that incident and Ewing’s purpose in jumping the stage was unknown.
Erickson said Ewing also resisted coming to court during that case and extraction orders were issued to get him in court.
If Brannigan had not issued the extraction order Friday, the arraignment would have been delayed for several days as the court was on limited hours on Monday, Dec. 31. The court was closed on Jan. 1.
Erickson said someone called 911 from the Old Town Trolley station to report seeing a man beat another man with an umbrella. The caller was some distance away and could not see the object was a bat.
The prosecutor said authorities do not yet know if Ewing was acquainted with Freeman before the assault.
Freeman was homeless, but had relatives in Missouri, he said.
A preliminary hearing was tentatively set for Jan. 11.