Suspect in murder of gay immigrant says victim’s death was accidental

David Munoz Diaz

David Munoz Diaz Booking phoot

Booking photo

David Munoz Diaz

SAN FRANCISCO — The man accused of murdering 23-year-old Freddy Canul-Arguello and then setting fire to the victim’s remains, has claimed that Canul-Arguello’s death was accidental, according to his attorney, San Francisco public defender Alex Lilien.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Lilien said he believes that his client, David Muñoz Diaz, 22, and the victim went to Buena Vista Park in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood to engage in an sexual encounter after having a few drinks at a bar in the Castro.

“I believe it was a terrible accident and some form of erotic asphyxiation,” Lilien said outside the courtroom.

“Mr. Diaz then panicked and set a garbage can on fire.”

Diaz was originally scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday, but after concerns were expressed about his mental state, Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Ross ordered a full mental health evaluation be done and set the hearing for this morning.

The Chronicle reported that Diaz is currently being being held on $5 million bail.

Also during the brief hearing this morning, Judge Ross denied defence attorney Lilien’s motion to reduce Diaz’s from $5 million bail to $1 million, citing the fact that the incident in the park which touched off the fire had endangered the public.

Canul-Arguello’s body was discovered by San Francisco firefighters around 4:40 a.m. June 10 responding to a reported brush fire incident in Buena Vista Park in the city’s famed Haight district — they found what turned out to be Freddy Canul-Arguello’s partially burned body in an nearby dumpster. Police said they believe he had been killed prior to his body being burned.

The San Francisco district attorney’s office has charged Diaz with second degree murder, arson, and willful mutilation of a corpse. Diaz listened to the proceedings through a Spanish interpreter and remained quiet for the duration of his arraignment.

The medical examiner’s report and cause of death have not been released publicly.

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