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Pacific Beach man pleads not guilty of old murder charge

A Connecticut man accused of beating and stabbing an 83-year-old widower during an apparent break-in more than 20 years ago in Pacific Beach pleaded not guilty Monday to murder charges that could lead to the death penalty if he’s convicted.

Howard Dean Jamison, 51, was arrested last Aug. 24 in Milford, Conn., after DNA evidence allegedly tied him to the slaying of Ewing C. Scroggs at his home at 4890 Mission Blvd.

Deputy District Attorney Allison Worden told Judge David Szumowski that Jamison beat and stabbed the victim — who lived alone — during a burglary in December 1989.

Scroggs was found dead by his relatives on Dec. 10, 1989. Neighbors had not seen the man in days, according to San Diego police.

Scroggs’ body was found in a rear bedroom and bore signs of a brutal attack, authorities said. The house reportedly had been ransacked, and several items belonging to the victim were missing.

Worden said Jamison had been convicted of crimes in New York, New Jersey, Louisiana and Connecticut.

Last April, authorities using a data base were able to match DNA from the Pacific Beach crime scene with DNA taken from Jamison after one of his convictions, according to the prosecutor.

Besides murder, Jamison is charged with a special circumstance allegation of murder during a residential burglary and an allegation that he personally used a knife in the killing, Worden said.

District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis will decide later whether Jamison will face the death penalty or life in prison without parole if convicted.

Szumowski scheduled a status conference for Jan. 19 and a preliminary hearing for Jan. 26.

Bail was set at $2 million.