SAN JOSE -- A San Jose couple has been arrested in the June beating death of a 59-year-old man whose final act was donating his organs to save others, authorities said.
Simon Morales, 37, was arrested Nov. 11 on suspicion of killing Francisco Lugo Sr., who died the morning of June 1 following a fight the previous night in the Luna Park neighborhood near North 12th and Jackson streets. Morales' wife, Andrea Morales, 46, was arrested on suspicion of being an accessory to the crime.
San Jose police said that Morales and Lugo knew each other and were attending the same house party before a confrontation that proved deadly. Lugo was either struck in the back of the head or knocked down, before his skull hit the ground or a hard object.
A family friend told this newspaper that no one at the party immediately called for help and that police and an ambulance were summoned only after Lugo's son arrived. Lugo was taken to the hospital and never regained consciousness, but relatives and friends said he was kept alive long enough for his organs to be donated.
In the immediate aftermath of his death, relatives said that before the beating, Lugo saw a group of people bothering a friend's son as the child tried to walk home. Lugo intervened, which allowed the child, who has an undisclosed disability, to escape. Friends and relatives suspected at the time that Lugo's act of kindness might have led to his death, but police made no mention of these events in their arrest announcement Thursday.
Lugo's death was the 22nd homicide of the year in San Jose. The city has now recorded 41 homicides in 2013, a total that includes a case handled by San Jose State University investigators that SJPD does not count toward its figures.
Contact Robert Salonga at 408-920-5002. Follow him at Twitter.com/robertsalonga.