A 63-year-old Temecula man accused of fatally shooting his brother-in-law during a dispute pleaded not guilty Thursday to murder.
Nelson Virgil Allen was arrested last month after allegedly gunning down 42-year-old Donald Piper outside his home at 12705 Pechanga Road.
Along with the murder count, Allen was charged with sentence-enhancing gun and great bodily injury allegations. If convicted, he could face 50 years to life in prison.
He appeared before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Judith Clark, who scheduled a felony settlement conference in the case for Aug. 14 and left the defendant's bail set at $1 million.
Allen is being held at the Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta.
According to sheriff's officials, deputies were called to the 12000 block of Pechanga Road at about 11 a.m. on July 27, to investigate a shooting report.
Sgt. Tyson Voss said the attack happened on a large parcel ringed by several homes with a common driveway. The property is virtually encircled by the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians' reservation, but is not part of tribal land, Voss said.
According to the sergeant, Allen and Piper had been engaged in an "ongoing family dispute" that apparently boiled over, resulting in the victim being shot once.
He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Allen was arrested without incident. Court records indicate he has had
several traffic-related convictions, but nothing more serious.
—City News Service