Homicide victim identified, suspect claims self-defense

08/15/2014 1:52 PM

08/15/2014 9:52 PM

A Merced man remained in jail Friday, a day after police said he killed another man with a small aluminum baseball bat during an argument over $15.

Cochise Potts, 29, told police he was only defending himself. Potts was booked into the Merced County Jail on suspicion of manslaughter. He was still in custody Friday afternoon with his bail set at $200,000.

The victim, 54-year-old Michael Ross, died shortly after 3 p.m. at the scene in the first block of Skylark Court in Merced, authorities told the Merced Sun-Star on Friday.

Capt. Tom Trindad said detectives were still investigating the case Friday. “It’s a complicated case,” Trindad said. “We have to determine, legally, when self-defense can cross over to become a crime and determine whether that happened in this incident.”

Trindad said the case would ultimately be turned over the Merced County District Attorney’s Office for review, likely sometime early next week.

Ross brought the baseball bat to Potts’ home and confronted him, apparently over $15 Ross believed Potts owed him, the Merced Police Department said. At some point during the confrontation, Potts apparently took the baseball bat from Ross and struck him in the head.

Officers declined to comment on the number of times the victim was struck with the bat. Authorities described the baseball bat as a small aluminum T-ball style bat.

The death marks the eighth homicide reported this year in the city of Merced. Police reported four homicides in the city in 2013.

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