Special circumstance allegation filed against man accused of killing female acquaintance in Lemon Grove
EL CAJON (CNS) – Prosecutors Wednesday filed special circumstance
allegations of lying in wait against a man accused of ambushing and killing a
female acquaintance as she walked home from a Lemon Grove bar where they had
spent the evening together.
Casey Michael Tschida, 32, is charged with murder in the Jan. 3 death of
District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis will decide later whether Tschida will
face the death penalty or life in prison without parole if convicted.
At an earlier hearing, Deputy District Attorney Gordon Paul Davis said
the defendant and the 30-year-old victim were together for about three hours at
Dirk's Niteclub on Broadway beginning around 10:30 p.m. on Jan. 2.
Tschida left the bar about 1:30 a.m., returned 15 minutes later with his
car's headlights off and shot Krajnak in the head as she crossed the street
toward her nearby apartment, the prosecutor alleged.
Krajnak died about 30 minutes later. No motive has been disclosed.
After the shooting, Tschida went to his home about seven miles away,
where he collected rifles, clothing, camping equipment and his dog, then drove
20 hours to his mother's home in Happy Valley, Ore., Davis alleged.
San Diego County sheriff's Detective Troy DuGal testified at a
preliminary hearing in May that Tschida's mother told him that her son showed
up unannounced the evening of Jan. 3.
“She was shocked,” DuGal said of the mother's reaction.
Tschida's mother could tell something was amiss and asked her son
“What's wrong?” and he replied, “Do you really want to know?”, according to
When the mother answered yes, Tschida told her, “I killed somebody,”
the detective testified.
Tschida's stepfather said the defendant told him, “I snapped. I shot
someone. I think I may have killed them,” according to DuGal.
Detective Norman Hubbert testified that Krajnak's blood was found on the
driver's side armrest in Tschida's truck.
Video recovered in the area where Krajnak was shot shows someone
confronting her, he said.
Tschida left the bar at 1:30 a.m., and the victim left at 1:43 a.m,
according to the surveillance video, Hubbert said.
Krajnak's phone records showed she sent Tschida a text, asking if he
wanted to “come over for a shot?” Hubbert said. Tschida answered, “Sure I'll
be over in a minute,” the detective testified.
According to sheriff's investigators, the two were only acquaintances
and did not have a romantic relationship.
“Apparently, they had seen each other socially once, but there was no
ongoing relationship,” the prosecutor told reporters at an earlier hearing.
A 9 mm handgun believed to have been used in the murder was recovered in
Oregon after Tschida allegedly threw it out of his vehicle, Davis said.