Update Keith Combs & Eugene Ellis

Keith Combs & Eugene EllisFrom the Patch in the case of Keith Combs & Eugene Ellis: “A preliminary hearing was held Wednesday for two men accused in the shooting deaths of two San Diego-based sailors in Otay Mesa 18 years ago.” 

The hearing for Edward Jesus Elias and Leopoldo Castro Chavez II, both 35, was to have started Tuesday morning but was postponed until Wednesday because one of the defense attorneys was unavailable. 

The defendants are each charged with murder and special circumstances in the deaths of 20-year-old Eugene “Cliff” Ellis and 23-year-old Keith Combs, who were stationed aboard the aircraft carrier USS Constellation.

Both defendants face 50 years to life in prison without parole if convicted, said Deputy District Attorney Andrea Freshwater. Since Elias and Chavez were both 17 at the time of the killings, they are not eligible for the death penalty, she said.”

A recently discovered DNA match implicated Chavez in the slayings of Keith Combs & Eugene Ellis.

On the morning of Sept. 25, 1993, people riding off-road vehicles discovered the victims’ bodies in an undeveloped area east of Palm Avenue and Interstate 805. Keith Combs & Eugene Ellis had been shot to death, and a truck belonging to one of them had been stolen.

The previous night, the San Diego-stationed servicemen had gone to the remote locale along with other Navy members to socialize and drink beer around a bonfire, Herbert said.

Though detectives who documented the murder scene recovered fingerprints and genetic evidence apparently belonging to the killer, the original investigation yielded no arrests.