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San Marcos

A new trial date of Jan. 16 has been set for a San Diego man charged with killing two men in San Marcos in 1986.

The new trial of Michael Smith, 29, stems from a hung jury Tuesday. The jury couldn’t decide between first- or second-degree murder or voluntary manslaughter.

The same Superior Court jury convicted co-defendant Keith Lugo, 25, formerly of Escondido, of two counts of first-degree murder.

The case involves the execution-style slayings of Robert Pharoah III, 27, of Spring Valley, and Timothy Ridgewell, 24, of La Mesa, whose bullet-riddled bodies were found on a gravel road in San Marcos on July 9, 1986.

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Deputy Dist. Atty. Craig Rooten said the murders occurred after the two men were falsely accused of being narcotics informants.

Lugo could be sentenced to a maximum 51 years to life. His sentencing is set for Jan. 8.

While Smith waits for a new trial, he will remain in jail. He is serving a 20-year prison sentence for manslaughter and auto theft in the death of a young woman in another state a year after the East County men were killed.


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