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Ventura man has prelim for NC slaying Neal Putnam | Sat, Jan 21 2012 12:00 PM

A Jan. 25 preliminary hearing has been set for a suspect in the 2011 murder of Antonio Vargas, 56, a National City man who was shot to death inside his apartment.

Jesus Farias, 30, of San Diego, pleaded not guilty to the murder charge that was filed in Chula Vista Superior Court.

A prosecutor on Dec. 22 said he could not comment on a motive or other details of the case.

Vargas was found dead in his apartment in the Villa Primavera Apartment building in the 2000 block of F Avenue in National City.

Farias fled the area and National City Police contacted the Ventura Police Department after receiving word that Farias was hiding in an apartment on Pomo Street in Ventura. On June 28, a SWAT team arrested him after an officer shot him as he tried to escape at 4:45 a.m.

The Ventura Police Department said in a press release they decided to have the SWAT team handle the arrest since the wanted man was an armed murder suspect. Other people living in the residence were safely evacuated, but Farias was shot when he refused to cooperate and fled.

Farias tried to leave out the back door and was ordered to stop and surrender. Farias kept running and an officer fired a single shot which wounded him. He was taken to the Ventura County Medical Center and hospitalized for his gunshot wound.

No one else was injured. When Farias recovered, he was transported to San Diego and remains in the central jail without bail due to a state parole hold.

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