Two men plead not guilty in bizarre murder case

| May 11, 2011

The alleged killers of a 23-year-old father in San Bruno pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges in connection with the brutal and bizarre murder.

Brandon David Thompson, 26, and Nicholas Jose Vargas, 24, are accused of botching their attempt to dispose of Christopher Chastain’s nearly 300-pound body after failing to lift it into a car trunk, prosecutors say.

They allegedly killed Chastain, the father of a 3-year-old boy, in a Cypress Avenue home on April 10, San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

Vargas allegedly beat Chastain with a pipe wrench and Thompson is accused of stabbing him in the home where Vargas’ parents live. Wagstaffe said the men dragged the body “outside and down the driveway, leaving a trail of blood for police to find.”

The effort to dispose of the body failed when the suspects could not get Chastain’s body into the trunk, Wagstaffe said. Cops said they found one of Chastain’s shoes in the trunk.

Thompson, a parolee, fled on public transit after allegedly giving up on the body disposal job, Wagstaffe said.

Vargas, who had been staying in the Cypress Avenue home with his parents, “went upstairs, woke up his parents and said, ‘You know what, something’s gone wrong and I need help,’” Wagstaffe said. Vargas’ father called 911, he said.

Prosecutors have yet to reveal a motive for the murder of Chastain, a San Bruno resident and father of a 3-year-old boy.

A preliminary hearing in the case is scheduled for July 12.

The defendants remain in custody on no bail status, Wagstaffe said.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

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