Because of an apparent scheduling issue, a trial-setting conference was postponed today for a Riverside County sheriff’s deputy accused of gunning down a patron at a Murrieta bar during an argument.
Dayle William Long could face 50 years to life in prison if convicted in the Dec. 21 slaying of 36-year-old Samuel Vanettes of Winchester.
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Along with first-degree murder, Long faces sentence-enhancing gun and great bodily injury allegations.
He appeared today with his public defender before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Timothy Freer, who held an in-chamber, off-the-record discussion with the prosecution and defense.
Details of the closed-door session were not disclosed, but Freer, on his own motion, rescheduled the defendant’s trial-setting conference for Monday.
Long remains held in lieu of $1 million bail at the Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta.
According to testimony from the 42-year-old defendant’s March preliminary hearing, he was drinking at Spelly’s Pub and Grille located at 40675 Murrieta Hot Springs Road when a group of people playing darts invited him to join them. While they were socializing, an argument broke out between the off-duty deputy and a friend of Vanettes, witnesses said.
The exchange turned confrontational, but at no time did any of the bar patrons become physically aggressive toward the deputy, who initiated the altercation, according to witnesses.
“It was all verbal,” Deputy District Attorney Dan DeLimon told City News Service in March, citing testimony. ”No one ever pushed, touched or shoved Dayle Long in any way.”
As the argument escalated, the 10-year law enforcement veteran allegedly pulled a compact .45 semiautomatic pistol and opened fire, striking Vanettes in the midriff and head. The victim, who had been unarmed, died at the scene.
Long surrendered without incident when Murrieta police arrived.
He most recently worked as a bailiff at one of the three downtown Riverside courthouses.