Borrego Sun - Since 1949

Murder update answers some questions


Last updated 9/27/2016 at 5:18pm

Loud voices, shouting and yelling were interspersed with the sound of the barks from a panicked dog. That’s what neighbors reported hearing, yet it hadn’t been enough to raise concern as it hadn’t been the first time that it had happened. The only difference this time is that it ended in tragedy, with the loss of one life and the end of another. Incarcerated and awaiting trial, only Mark Waugh knows the real reason he ended his best friend’s life in a frenzied early morning attack.

As with most people who have known each other from childhood and endured over forty years of friendship, over time there had been disagreements and fallings out. They had met in school in the ’60s in the small beach community of La Jolla, before history had brought them to be roommates in Borrego Springs. Brett Boynton’s grandfather and grandmother had created the Hacienda del Sol which sits on Palm Canyon Drive. On their demise, it was passed down through the family. Brett had begun visiting Borrego Springs in the ’70s. At that time Brett was working a 9:00 – 5:00 in an architect’s office in La Jolla. Brett’s father dated Suzie who worked at the Borrego Springs Resort and then The Springs at Indian Head, however that relationship failed and Suzie found a different love and moved away. Brett’s job had suddenly come to an end and he found himself couch surfing to some degree. He had no alternative but to move to Borrego while he tried to figure out what to do next.

Living with his father in the house on Verbena Drive, he had played a part in the community for many years. He was even seen at Chamber of Commerce meetings on the Hacienda’s behalf. A friend of Brett’s describes him as quiet person, not loud or boisterous, content with not being the life and soul of the party. He also described him as smart. Brett worked maintenance and did odd jobs at the Hacienda for a few years. As his father’s health declined and he took on the role of carer; Brett’s own fortunes were slipping away. On the death of his father, the Hacienda del Sol was inherited by his sister Tracey and her husband. Brett began to work odd jobs at the restaurants in town before ending up being fired or walking away. A continual cycle of existing.

Mark Waugh and Brett became roommates at the Verbena house. A situation that should have helped each of them. Neither man had a car or much in the way of financial security according to one witness who knew the pair well, arguments became more frequent. Mark, the smaller of the two men at only 5ft 7, wasn’t social and when Brett’s friend would come to visit, Mark would slink off to his room, being shy and quiet around the house. Brett had a long-term girlfriend for a while and she would bring dogs around to the house for long stays, but after the relationship ended, the two men were left with a young puppy to look after. One or the other could be seen walking the dog around Borrego and it was well looked after.

Time had seen Brett move on from one kitchen job to another. Frequently he was out of work and sat at home while Mark cycled up to a local horse barn to spend a few hours as a stable hand. According to their friend, there were a lot of hours where the two of them spent lonely days with nothing but their thoughts to amuse them. The house itself was comfortable. They had electricity, cable and a fridge, “It wasn’t squalor,” says the friend, “but they were living an existence lifestyle.”

The friend, who wishes to remain anonymous, says Brett was, “capable of a lot more, he wasn’t living his full potential. He didn’t have a lot of zest for life.” Mark had spoken to several people before the tragedy and at least one person had offered Mark a refuge if he needed to leave the house. Mark had complained about the tension in the house, the lack of money and the difficulties of not having a car between them.

The day before the murder, Mark was walking the dog when their friend stopped to talk to him. “He seemed fine, I told him about a position available at Kesling’s. Asked him to tell Brett about it.” There has been a lot of speculation about the lives the two men led and what could have happened to have necessitated such a tragedy. At this stage no one but Mark knows. Since his arrest, he has reached out to his friend, but no public details have emerged.

We do know that the cars that sat outside the house were never driven and the RV has sat redundant in the driveway for years. There was no A/C in the house, just a swamp cooler, and neither man was seen taking drugs, drinking excessively or displaying signs of aggression. It’s known that they argued a lot but violence hadn’t been reported. Mark had his own frustrations in life and hated the situation he was in and the two spent too much time sitting around the house bored and frustrated. But the only other witness to their private lives and the eventual crime, was the dog both men had taken such care of. Following the aftermath, the dog was put in the pound. Now re-homed by a local lady, the speculation and gossip will continue to surround the event until public trial.

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