Alleged killer of MCC member stands trialAround the City, Around the Nation Wednesday, November 9th, 2011
A Jan. 9, 2012 trial date was set Oct. 24 for a man suspected of fatally beating Vance Shazier, 67, a member of the Metropolitan Community Church, who was much loved by fellow congregants.
Thomas Lee Daniel, 40, appeared before San Diego Superior Court Judge John Einhorn for trial last week, but his attorney requested to delay it until Jan. 9. Daniel waived his right to have a speedy trial.
Daniel was committed to a state mental hospital in 2010 after a judge ruled he was not mentally competent to stand trial. Following treatment for nine months, doctors determined he was able to understand court proceedings and he was returned to San Diego.
Shazier was gay and had a prison ministry. Daniel never attended MCC, but Shazier met him in late 2008 at a food bank. Daniel was homeless at the time, and Shazier invited him to stay temporarily in his Seventh Avenue home.
Shazier told several MCC members that his roommate would have to leave and feared he could become violent. He even told two people he believed he would be going to heaven soon. Those two church members may testify at the trial.
Shazier was found beaten to death Jan. 13, 2009. Daniel was interviewed by police and admitted to kicking and hitting Shazier, according to testimony in a preliminary hearing in 2009.
Daniel had three prior misdemeanor battery convictions stemming from confrontations he had with employees at businesses, according to court records. He was placed on probation three times and ordered to attend anger management classes, but never enrolled in them.
Daniel has pleaded not guilty. The prosecutor said he is seeking a second-degree murder conviction. Daniel remains in the downtown central jail on $1 million bail.
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