A 46-year-old man accused of gunning down a motel guest during an altercation in Riverside must stand trial for murder and other offenses, a judge ruled Friday.
Robert Donald Intong of Desert Hot Springs was arrested in 2021 following a Riverside Police Department investigation into the slaying of 31-year-old Cole William Birchard.
At the end of a preliminary hearing at the Riverside Hall of Justice on Friday, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Walter Kubelun found that there was sufficient evidence to warrant a trial on the murder count as well as sentence-enhancing gun and great bodily injury allegations.
The judge scheduled a post-preliminary hearing arraignment for Feb. 10 and ordered that the defendant remain held on $1 million bail at the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside.
According to Riverside police Officer Javier Cabrera, at about 6 a.m. on May 17, 2021, Intong and Birchard got into a fight in the victim’s room at the Motel 6 in the 3600 block of La Sierra Avenue. The reasons for the altercation were not specified.
“At some point, (Intong) produced a handgun and fatally shot the victim in the chest,” Cabrera said.
He alleged that the defendant immediately fled the location, after which witnesses called 911. Paramedics arrived moments later and pronounced Birchard dead at the scene.
According to Cabrera, detectives developed leads the same day pointing to Intong as the alleged assailant, and an arrest warrant was obtained and served at his room in a hotel on Magnolia Avenue, where he was taken into custody without incident.
According to court records, the defendant has prior convictions for possession of controlled substances and felony evading.