Jury deliberations begin in trial of man accused of fatally striking woman

MURRIETA – Jury deliberations got underway yesterday in the trial of a man accused of fatally bashing a 54-year-old woman with a liquor bottle while she was standing in line at a Temecula store.

Brian Eldon Saylor, 32, of Temecula was charged last year with murder for allegedly inflicting the injuries that ultimately claimed the life of Tammy Serrano, also of Temecula.

Following three days of testimony, the prosecution and defense – Saylor is acting as his own attorney – made their closing statements, after which Riverside County Superior Court Judge John Monterosso sent the jury behind closed doors. The panelists spent about three hours behind closed doors before going home for the day, and are due to resume deliberations Thursday morning at the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta.

Deputies were called to the CVS/Pharmacy at 31771 Rancho California Road, in the shopping district just off of Meadows Parkway, to investigate reports of an assault on the afternoon of June 13, 2016.

Witnesses, including the victim’s daughter, alleged that Serrano was standing in the checkout lane when a stranger – later identified as Saylor – walked up and struck her in the back of the head with a bottle of Jim Beam whiskey, according to sheriff’s Sgt. Ray Huskey.

Serrano died the next day at Inland Valley Medical Center in Wildomar. She and the defendant had no known prior encounters, and a possible motive for the apparently unprovoked attack remains unclear.

When deputies arrived, pharmacy employees were holding the 6-foot-2, 240-pound Saylor, who was taken into custody without a fight, according to Huskey.

In addition to eyewitnesses, part of the attack was captured by store security surveillance video cameras.

An employee from a neighboring outlet told reporters that the defendant was often seen walking around the area and sometimes appeared intoxicated but did not seem violent.

He has no documented prior felony convictions.

Also See: Man who killed woman, 54, at Temecula CVS had troubled past

The defendant is being held in lieu of $1 million bail at the adjacent Byrd Detention Center.

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