Fresno man accused of beating a father to death appears in court
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Thirty-two-year-old David Ketcheside died after investigators say he was struck in the head at his home on the morning of Thursday July 25.
The suspect, 33-year-old Dustin Baize, made his first court appearance Monday morning.
Dustin Baize did not enter a plea this morning, instead asked to hold off on his arraignment while he tries to hire a private attorney.
According to court documents, Dustin Baize used a guitar to beat his friend to death after a night of partying at the victim's home on Friant Road near Willow.
The judge did not allow us to take video of the suspect during his initial court appearance. Investigators have not revealed a motive in the murder, but action news legal analyst Tony Capozzi says it appears to have been a very personal crime.
"This tells me it's a crime in the heat of passion. When it's in the heat of passion, it's generally manslaughter," Capozzi said. "Something triggered this between the two of them. Obviously the suspect in this case became angry and started bludgeoning him."
The victim, 32-year-old David Ketcheside was a father of two.
His family issued a statement saying, "David was an amazing father, with a love for his kids that couldn't be measured. He was generous and trusted people, always looking for good in them. We all miss him terribly and are just trying to make sense of such a senseless act."
It's unclear how long the suspect and victim were friends. But, according to a sheriff's spokesman the problems were sparked on that visit.
Prosecutors have charged baize with first degree with special circumstances. Capozzi says those charges carry a high burden of proof.
"The DA is going to have to prove that there was premeditation, did he go over to that house intending to kill the victim?" Capozzi said.
Investigators spent seven hours at Ketcheside's home Thursday collecting evidence Thursday. Deputies say they found 15 pounds of processed marijuana in the home.
The victim's family said "David was not involved in illegal activity."
Baize will be back in court next week to enter a plea. Toxicology reports have not been released on the suspect or victim.
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