Bound over for trial, Escalon resident Rocky Overturf, 27, remains in custody at the San Joaquin County Jail.
“The preliminary hearing finished on Friday and he was held to answer to charges of second degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon, with an enhancement of causing great bodily injury,” said Escalon Police Chief Mike Borges.
Overturf was arrested in November in connection with the death of Aaron Messick in a fight behind the Valley Inn on Main Street.
Escalon Police Department Detective Anthony Hardgraves was present for the hearing and was the primary investigating officer in the case.
In addition to the charges in connection with Messick’s death – the cause of which was blunt force trauma to the head, authorities said – Overturf is facing charges stemming from a similar incident at the bar in 2015.
The case had not passed the statute of limitations and though originally the victim in that case did not press charges, they were added on to those from the November 2016 case. In the 2015 incident, Overturf is accused of striking the victim as he left the bar, also causing that man to fall.
Overturf was remanded to jail following the hearing; a trial date has not yet been set, Borges said.
“Basically he has been held to answer and will be going to trial,” Borges said.
The second degree murder charge stems from an altercation involving Overturf, then 26, and Aaron Messick, 36, also of Escalon. The two men reportedly had an altercation at the Valley Inn on Main Street late Saturday night Nov. 19/early Sunday morning Nov. 20, with Overturf leaving through the front door of the establishment and driving away in his vehicle. Messick, meanwhile, went out the back door of the bar a short time later and was confronted there by Overturf, who punched Messick, causing him to fall and strike his head.
Overturf then fled the scene as police and emergency services units were called, with CPR being done on the victim when authorities arrived shortly before 12:30 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 20. Messick was pronounced dead and an autopsy later listed the cause of death as blunt force trauma to the head.
After he fled the scene, police searched for Overturf for more than a week and had run down several leads, with a break in the case coming on Nov. 28 when Overturf was the passenger in a vehicle stopped by authorities in Modesto.
He was subsequently booked into jail early morning Tuesday, Nov. 29 and has been held at the county jail since that time.