'Blackout Drunk' Defendant Found Guilty in Murder

Image: Higinio Salgado
NBC 7 San Diego

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A man on trial for killing his boss has been found guilty of second-degree murder.

The jury determined Thursday that Higinio Salgado, 32, had criminal intent when he drunkenly beat well-known architect Graham Downes to death in April 2013.

Salgado's family joined him in the packed courtroom as the verdict was read.

Downes was killed after hosting a happy hour party at his architecture office that turned into a night of drinking.

Both Salgado and Downes were intoxicated when they got into an argument over a former employee around 1 a.m. on April 19, 2013, according to the defense.

NBC 7 San Diego

That argument escalated into a physical fight. Salgado got the upper-hand and beat Downes’ head into the pavement over and over, the prosecutor said.

Salgado’s attorney argued with an estimated blood alcohol level of 0.22 to 0.24, Salgado was “blackout drunk” and should not be held fully responsible for his actions because, in that state, he was essentially unconscious.

The prosecution disagreed, saying that Salgado’s dislike of the former employee and fear for his jobfestered into a murderous rage as the night went on.

The latter argument won out, and now Salgado faces 15 years to life in prison at his June 6 sentencing.

—By NBCSanDiego.com