Suspect arrested in Upton slaying

March 30, 2013 at 8:41 PM

ENCINITAS, Calif., March 30 (UPI) -- A suspect is in custody in the shooting death of Emmy-winning filmmaker John Upton, authorities say.

The Los Angeles Times reported Saturday Michael Vilkin, 61, of Vista was arrested Thursday in the slaying of Upton, a 56-year-old filmmaker best known for his efforts to bring the plight of orphans in Romania to light. Vilkin is to be arraigned Tuesday.

The San Diego County Sheriff's Department had not disclosed a motive for the shooting, but the Times said the men may have been involved in a property dispute.

Upton's body was found Thursday morning outside his home, located next to a vacant lot reportedly owned by Vilkin.

KGTV reported Vilkin told the San Diego TV station he shot Upton in self-defense after the filmmaker pulled a gun on him. Vilkin allegedly said Upton was upset he was trimming trees on his property.

The Times said Upton won an Emmy in 1990 for an after-school special on teenage promiscuity and later worked to publicize the the brutal living conditions of Romanian orphan.

He also was known for his efforts to focus attention on social problems in the United States, including those of seniors, the abused and the disabled.

Like Us on Facebook for more stories from UPI.com  
Latest Headlines
Top Stories
Malia Obama spotted on the set of 'Girls' in New York City
Tiffani Thiessen gives birth to son, shares first photo on Instagram
Stephen Colbert hosts Michigan public-access show 'Only in Monroe'
Josh Hartnett's girlfriend Tamsin Egerton is pregnant
Tim McGraw is giving away 36 mortgage-free homes to veterans