Jury selection is slated to begin Thursday for the retrial 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 could face 25 years to life in state prison if convicted of first-degree murder for the death of Tammy Serrano.
A Murrieta jury on Sept. 15 deadlocked 11-1 in favor of conviction, resulting in a mistrial.
During a pretrial hearing today at the Southwest Justice Center, Riverside County Deputy District Attorney Sean Crandell and Saylor, who is acting as his own attorney, announced he was ready to proceed with the retrial.
Superior Court Judge Stephen Gallon advised the defendant that he could be appointed counsel, but Saylor again informed the court that he intended to argue his own case.
Jury selection is expected to take about three days, with opening statements likely in a week.
Saylor is being held in lieu of $1 million bail at the Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta.
According to sheriff’s Sgt. Ray Huskey, 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 — Saylor — walked up and struck her in the back of the head with a 750 mL bottle of Jim Beam whiskey.
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 remains unclear.
When deputies arrived, pharmacy employees were holding the 6-feet-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 appeared intoxicated but did not seem violent.
Saylor has no documented prior felony convictions.