The preliminary hearing of Jon David Guerrero, 42, is now over after San Diego Superior Court Judge Kenneth So ordered him to stand trial after hearing many witnesses.
Deputy District Attorney Makenzie Harvey said a possible motive surfaced in the hearing in which an officer testified a surviving homeless victim asked his attacker why did he stab him in the face.
"Because you're a bum," the officer said the attacker told him.
All but one of the victims were homeless, but that remark is the only time in which someone said Guerrero said anything during the attack.
Guerrero is also charged with the special circumstance of committing multiple murders and a decision as to whether he faces the death penalty or life in prison without parole has not yet been made by the District Attorney.
He will get a trial date on Dec. 2. Guerrero has pleaded not guilty and remains in jail without bail.
Police detective David Spitzer testified the first victim was Angelo DeNardo, 53, who died July 3, 2016, while underneath the Interstate 5 bridge near Mission Bay. A railroad spike was hammered through his head and chest. He died from blunt force trauma and his body was set on fire.
Spitzer testified Guerrero is seen on surveillance camera footage at a nearby service station purchasing a red gas can along with gasoline some minutes before DeNardo was killed. A witness saw a man running away from the scene carrying a red gas can, which was later recovered, said Spitzer.
The second homicide victim was Shawn Longley, 41, in Ocean Beach on July 4, 2016, and he was found on a sidewalk and partially out of a sleeping bag near tennis courts and a park. A railroad spike was found beside his head.
The third man killed was Dionicio Vahidy, 23, in downtown San Diego. He was attacked two days later and died in a hospital.
The fourth victim killed, Molly Simons, 83, of North Park, broke the pattern in that she was the only non-homeless person attacked. Harvey said the pattern was similar, however, because surveillance cameras showed a man on a bicycle carrying some type of weapon before Simons was struck in the head on July 13, 2016.
Simons volunteered at a local YMCA and was walking to a bus stop around 5 a.m. when she was struck to the back of her head in an alley on Arizona Street near University Avenue. She was taken to a hospital and died two weeks later from a skull fracture.
Harvey said in court one victim, Michael Mason, survived a railroad spike hammered into his face, but he was left blinded when he was attacked in the Midway area in 2016. Mason died in July 2019.
A homeless woman was also among the victims and she survived. Video surveillance showed a man on a bicycle coming by, and the victim appears to get up only to fall down repeatedly. The attacks themselves were not captured by surveillance cameras.
Guerrero was in a state mental hospital for several years after a judge found him mentally incompetent for trial. So had a trial in June on the sole issue of mental competency and the judge found him mentally fit to face the charges.
When police searched Guerrero's apartment in the East Village, they found identification from two murder victims in his possession along with railroad spikes, police said.