A neighbor called 911 after she heard the sounds of a dangerous altercation outside of the home of Graham Downes, a San Diego architect. When police arrived, they found a bloody scene of violence – Downes laying unresponsive on the ground with his assailant drunkenly resting on his dead body.
The attacker was Higinio Salgado, one of Downes’ employees. Earlier that evening, Downes and some of his employees met up at a bar – including Salgado – where trouble was already starting to brew. According to the others present at the bar, Salgado was beginning to become ‘loud’ and ‘obnoxious,’ even insulting one of the female employees with them. Somehow, the party continued on to Downes’ San Diego home. As told by one of the individuals present, an argument started when a man’s name, another employee not at the gathering, came up in conversation. Salgado began raging at his boss, expressing his discontent and hatred for the man mentioned, asserting that he “better not take his job.” The others present were able to diffuse the situation and change the subject, but stated that Salgado “couldn’t let it go.”
Later that night, when the women had gone home, Salgado continued yelling and soon became violent. He was heavily intoxicated and began beating on his boss, inflicting blunt force trauma up to 21 times. Salgado’s blood alcohol level was around 2.0 at the time of the incident, over twice the legal driving limit for the state of California.
According to Salgado’s defense attorney, it isn’t clear which of the two men attacked first. He also says it isn’t known exactly what the two men were arguing about precisely before the fight happened. He is claiming Salgado became enraged with a ‘sense of betrayal’ when his boss mentioned the name of another employee that had worked for him since 2011. The DA has stated that the death of Downes is “tragic” but “not a murder.”
“DA: ‘Sense of betrayal’ led to fatal beating” – UT San Diego