Dragasits prosecutor: “He intended on killing them”
SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A man “set himself up like a sniper” and should be convicted of attempted murder and other crimes for shooting at freeway motorists during the morning commute in San Diego, wounding a college student and hitting the car of another driver, a prosecutor told a jury Monday.
In her closing arguments in the trial of Stephen Dragasits, prosecutor Chandelle Konstanzer said the defendant deliberately fired from his motor home, which was parked alongside southbound state Route 163, wounding 21-year-old University of San Diego student Ashley Simmons and hitting the car of Jeffrey Lloyd-Jones.
Simmons suffered a collapsed lung and other injuries and spent nine days in the hospital. Lloyd-Jones was not hurt.
“He was aiming at these individuals,” the prosecutor said. “He was aiming. He intended on killing them.”
But defense attorney Euketa Oliver told the jury in her closing argument that no one saw her client shoot at anyone the morning of April 5, 2011.
“There's no direct evidence that Mr. Dragasits was the one who fired the shots at Ashley Simmons and Jeffrey Lloyd-Jones,” the attorney said.
Video footage shot by a motorist driving in the area the morning of the shootings shows a motor home parked by the freeway, but it is a different motor home than the defendant's, Oliver told the jury.
Konstanzer said the 59-year-old Dragasits lived in his RV and liked to hang out in the vicinity of Kearny Mesa Road along the freeway near the Clairemont Mesa exit.
About a month before the shootings, Dragasits was convicted of throwing large rocks at cars in the same area, the prosecutor said.
The CHP found a total of 12 expended .22-caliber shell casings in the area after the shootings, and some of the casings had the defendant's DNA on them, Konstanzer said.
The same caliber shell casings were also found in Dragasits' motor home, along with an empty box of ammunition, a rifle scope and a Walmart receipt for ammunition, the prosecutor said.
But Oliver said there were questions regarding the collection of evidence and whether acceptable standards were followed in testing for DNA on the shell casings.
Just because Dragasits' DNA was found on some shell casings on the roadway doesn't mean he's the person who fired a gun at innocent motorists, Oliver told the jury.
In addition to attempted murder, the defendant is charged with shooting at an occupied vehicle and assault with a firearm. He faces 43 years to life in prison if convicted.