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Trial Delayed For Accused Killers Of Cornerstone Community Pastor's Son

Three men are standing trial for the murder of Joshua Armstrong, 22, son of Ron Armstrong, senior pastor at Cornerstone Community Church in Wildomar.

The trial of three men charged in the stabbing death of a Wildomar pastor’s son has been delayed for six months.

On Friday, Judge Timothy F. Freer postponed the trial until August due to scheduling problems with the attorneys.

San Diego residents Matthew Alexis Basler, 32, Marvin Justin Black, 27, and James Wing Fung, 32, pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, attempted murder, assault and dissuading a witness with a sentence enhancement for using a deadly weapon, court records show.

On Dec. 26, 2008, the three men allegedly killed Joshua Armstrong, 22, and tried to kill his friend, Joel Ross, in an alley behind E.T.’s Bar in Temecula.

Armstrong was the son of Ron Armstrong, the senior pastor at . Ross, who was injured in the incident, is the son of Hugh Ross, a creationist author and public speaker.

The fight that led to Armstrong’s death started over a glass of beer, a witness testified during a hearing last year.

The three defendants were playing pool with some female friends near the victims and their group of friends when somebody in the defendants’ group found a beer on one of the pool tables. The person got angry and placed the beer in a woman’s purse, testified Lauren Grove, who was with the defendants' the night of the killing.

The owner of the purse was one of Armstrong’s friends, and her boyfriend exchanged words with the defendants. The discussion got heated, so Armstrong stepped in to smooth things over. Through the evening, he went over to the defendants’ group several times to ensure they had no hard feelings, Grove testified.

Later that night, Basler grabbed Armstrong and pulled him outside, but other people broke them up before a fight started. As Basler drove away from the bar with his friends, he pulled into the alley and found Armstrong. The three men jumped out and they started fighting, Grove said.

The men ran back to the car and Grove drove the truck away, leaving Armstrong limping in the parking lot, she said.

Days later, a mysterious woman called Grove and warned her not to go to the police. She thought she heard Basler and Fung’s voices in the background, she testified.

The problem with the attorneys’ schedules should be resolved by August, they agreed in a hearing today.

Fung’s attorney, Karen Lockhart, is involved in another trial, and lawyers are allowed to participate in only one trial at a time. A vacation in June will stop William Wolfe, Basler’s attorney, from being available during that time period, he said.  --City News Service contributed to this report.

a April 23, 2012 at 04:58 PM
This is so sad I use to know Matty when he was a sweet young boy his older brother committed suicide in 2004 and I think that set him into a tailspin (not an excuse) but I do know this is not the Matty I remember I don't know what happened but it breaks my heart. Alcohol never goes good with people who have issues. Maybe he should of gotten some help to deal with his grief instead of going to the bars and getting drunk. I'm sure he wishes he could take it back he use to be a good kid.
Lucy Lawless May 15, 2012 at 07:04 PM
This is so very sad. His name is Ryan Armstrong. Please, let's remember him as Ryan and not just the son of a pastor. Ryan was an awesome young man and had so much going for him. Please take him out of his father’s shadow and remember him as Ryan. Those three who aided in taking his life are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt when it comes to the justice system. However, God is truly the judge. Please keep in mind that they are also the same type of people we go into prisons and minister to and they are God's children too. Yes they should be stripped of all their earthly freedoms and locked up till they meet their maker. Don't let the Devil cloud your better senses and cause you to think evil about this situation. Because if you do, you'll be adding to your own list of sins and endanger your salvation too. Ryan has gone on to live his eternal life. His long term prayers have been answered. However, those three guys need our prayers more than ever. Ryan’s family and friends along with the family and friends of those three, need our prayers too. Rest In Peace Ryan…
DeMarie Rossi August 16, 2012 at 09:26 AM
Lucy all I can say is thank you.
C August 25, 2012 at 06:59 AM
I remember Matt, I knew him when we were kids... he had a good heart and was a good person. Do not underestimate how drugs can ruin your life... And that effects everyone around you period. I am confident if he could he would take this all back, but its too late now. And of course no one cares, thats the world we live in. No one ever cared, that was the problem for Matt... Its a sad story for everyone.
tricia zizzo August 30, 2012 at 03:31 AM
i love you ry ry. you will always be in my heart and justice will come one day, i promise. i dream of you all the time and i will NEVER forget about you.

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