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Desert Hot Springs Man Accused of Killing Roommate to Stand Trial on Murder, Assault Charges

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Desert Hot Springs, CA -

A Desert Hot Springs man who allegedly shot and killed his roommate, then threatened to kill the victim's girlfriend, must stand trial on charges of murder, assault with a gun and criminal threats, a judge ruled today.

Brian Keith Hernandez, 48, is accused of shooting 49-year-old Steven Nelson after telling the victim and his girlfriend that they had to move out of the apartment the three were sharing at 13355 Verbena Drive. Nelson was shot just before 10 p.m. Feb. 28 and died the following day at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs.

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Desert Hot Springs police Sgt. Gus Paiz testified that Nelson's girlfriend told him Hernandez had given the couple one day to move out of the apartment for undisclosed reasons. The couple had lived there for about a month at the time of the shooting, Paiz testified. According to the sergeant, Nelson and Hernandez got into an argument in the apartment's kitchen, and Nelson's girlfriend, who was in a nearby bedroom, heard the defendant say, ``You want to play games?''

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Nelson's girlfriend later heard a single gunshot, then ran out to find Nelson bleeding on the floor, Paiz said. The girlfriend said Hernandez then pointed the gun at her and asked her if she also wanted to get shot, prompting her to run from the apartment, the sergeant testified.

Hernandez, who is being held on $1 million bail, will return to court July 11 for a post-preliminary hearing arraignment.

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