A preliminary hearing for Rocky Overturf is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 31.
The Escalon man is being charged with second degree murder for the death of Aaron Messick in a fight behind the Valley Inn on Main Street on Nov. 20, 2016.
“He is also being charged with assault with a deadly weapon – by means of force, stemming from a 2015 case where he assaulted a person and caused them great bodily injury,” said Escalon Police Detective Robert Hardgraves. “Although there were multiple witnesses to the 2015 incident, the victim did not wish to prosecute. Since the case has not passed the statute of limitations, the District Attorney has elected to proceed with charges.”
The victim has been contacted, Hardgraves added, and has agreed to cooperate.
Overturf eluded police for several days after the November incident but was arrested during a traffic stop in Modesto.
The case stemmed from an altercation involving Overturf, 26, and 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 out the front door of the establishment, 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 will be back in court for the preliminary hearing on Jan. 31.