Prosecutor: Man's Stepchildren Conspired To Kill Him In Surprise Attack - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Prosecutor: Man's Stepchildren Conspired To Kill Him In Surprise Attack

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A man's two stepchildren conspired to murder him in a surprise attack in his own home, a prosecutor said today, but a defense attorney argued that the prosecution failed to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.

Deputy District Attorney George Bennett told the jury hearing the case against Nathaniel Gann that 63-year-old Timothy MacNeil got "jumped" by Gann and Brae Hansen as he arrived at his Rolando home around noon on July 19, 2007.

In his closing argument, the prosecutor said the siblings tried to make it look like MacNeil was shot to death by a masked intruder in a robbery gone bad.

Hansen initially told police that the masked intruder bound her wrists with Zip Ties and shot her stepfather when he wouldn't give the robber the combination to his safe, according to court testimony.

But Bennett told the jury that MacNeil was shot four times -- including a fatal shot to the back of the head -- by Gann, who drove from Arizona to San Diego to commit the crime when his younger sister told him she wanted the victim dead.

"It was no accident, it was no spontaneous, rash act," the prosecutor said. "It was done by a sneak attack by means of lying in wait."

Gann, 20, and Hansen, 19, were tried together, with separate juries. Hansen's jury has reached a verdict, but Judge Frederic Link said he wouldn't announce it until Gann's jury reaches a decision.

Both defendants face life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted of first-degree murder and the special circumstance allegation of lying in wait.

Bennett told Gann's jury that MacNeil must have experienced terror in his final moments.

"It is something that no human being should ever have to experience," the prosecutor said. "He died that way because of the cold calculations of Nathaniel Gann and Brae Hansen."

Bennett said police initially treated Hansen as a victim, but arrested her when her story fell apart.

Gann was arrested at his Arizona home the next day.

A jailhouse informant testified that Gann told him details of the murder that only the killer would know, Bennett told the jury.

"This is a vicious and savage crime," the prosecutor said. "There is no excuse. There is no justification. There is no reason for this. Timothy Macneil did not deserve to die the way he did. Nathaniel Gann does not deserve to get away with it."

Defense attorney Ricardo Garcia, in his closing argument, told jurors that the prosecution failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

He said "unreliable" evidence presented should leave jurors with rational questions in their mind whether Gann was guilty of murder.

"You're sitting there left with a question of motive," the attorney said.

Garcia said it didn't make sense for Gann to leave his life in Arizona and "kill a man he has no bad feeling about."
The attorney said Gann had a reputation as a non-violent man.

Garcia urged jurors to question whether a ski mask found near the crime scene -- that police say had Gann's DNA on it -- was contaminated.

The jailhouse snitch, Charles Goodman, testified that Gann told him that MacNeil came home unexpectedly and surprised Gann and Hansen, not the other way around, Garcia said.

The attorney said no one saw Gann shoot the victim and there was no gunshot residue on Gann after he was arrested.

The murder weapon -- found in the backyard -- had a mixture of Gann and Hansen's DNA on it, but that should be questioned because the gun once belonged to the defendants' mother, who committed suicide in 2006, Garcia said.

Gann's case was expected to go to the jury Friday afternoon.

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