Crime

Man accused of beating roommate with bat pleads not guilty

A man who allegedly beat his roommate with a metal baseball bat in Cathedral City pleaded not guilty today to attempted murder, torture and other felony charges.

Jason James Allen, 45, was arrested in Port Orchard, Washington, and extradited to Riverside County this week to face the charges stemming from the May 25 attack at a home in the 69000 block of Northhampton Avenue.

The victim, 48-year-old Jason Burnette, was struck multiple times in the head and face and hospitalized for facial fractures, "partial ear loss'' and a brain bleed, according to an arrest warrant declaration.

Cathedral City police found the victim "covered in blood'' just before 5 a.m. at a neighboring residence. He told responding officers that Allen told him "I got to kill you, I know I'm going to go to jail for a long 
time,'' the declaration alleges.

Allen allegedly fled in the victim's car. Police attempted to track him down via his cell phone, which indicated he had been in Modesto within 24 hours of the crime, according to the declaration.

Burnette's wife, Gina, on a GoFundMe site created to raise funds for his medical expenses, alleged the attack was financially motivated. She alleged that Allen "attempted to murder my Jason for about $3,000'' in cash that the victim had kept at the home they all apparently shared.

Prosecutors charged Allen in May with attempted murder, torture, carjacking and robbery, and a $1 million warrant was issued for his arrest. He pleaded not guilty Wednesday afternoon and will return to court Aug. 17 for a felony settlement conference.

To contribute to Burnette's medical expenses, click here.

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