A new trial date of Jan. 14, 2013 was set Thursday for a former Riverside County sheriff's deputy accused of gunning down a patron at a Murrieta establishment during an argument.
Dayle William Long could face 50 years to life in prison if convicted in the Dec. 21, 2011 slaying of 36-year-old Samuel Vanettes of French Valley. Along with a first-degree murder charge, Long faces sentence-enhancing gun and great bodily injury allegations.
Long's trial was due to start Thursday; instead, a trial-readiness conference was set for Dec. 14.
Defense witness Frederic Nelms, who was present in court Thursday for a hearing, was ordered to return Jan. 14.
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 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 said at the time.
"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.