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Monterey man pleads not guilty in friend's death

by sunita vijayan • • September 24, 2010

A Monterey man accused of stabbing his friend to death pleaded not guilty Thursday to a charge of murder.

Monterey police said James Torrey Hill was arrested early Wednesday after officers found Mathew Finnigan, 26, at an apartment complex in the 800 block of Casanova Street. Finnigan was found about 2:10 a.m. with stab wounds to his chest.

Hill, who was at the scene, was initially arrested on attempted murder charges

But Finnigan was pronounced dead about 7 a.m. at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose.

Hill's bail is set at $1 million.

The Monterey County Public Defender's Office agreed to represent Hill during his arraignment Thursday, and he is expected to return to court Sept. 29.

Police declined to disclose details of the incident other than to say that investigators gathered information at the scene that pointed them to Hill.

The homicide is Monterey's first since July 24, 2009, when police arrested 24-year-old William Aguirre-Fajardo in the death of an 8-month-old baby.

Aguirre-Fajardo had told officers the child had fallen while his 17-year-old girlfriend left them alone. The Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, however, told police the baby died of shaken-baby syndrome.

Name: Sunita Vijayan
Title: Public Safety
Phone: (831) 754-4261