SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A San Diego man should be convicted of first-degree murder for shooting into a Clairemont park at nighttime and killing a teenager who was dancing in the arms of her boyfriend, a prosecutor said Monday, but a defense attorney said the case had not been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
Jurors Monday afternoon began deliberating the fate of 20-year-old Luis Francisco Barron, who faces 54 years to life in prison if convicted of the Aug. 27, 2010, murder of Joanna Vargas.
In his closing argument, Deputy District Attorney Jill DiCarlo said the defendant murdered the 15-year-old victim after an earlier incident the same night, in which he pulled a shotgun on a 48-year-old man and his friend in City Heights.
Barron and his friends continued on to Lindbergh Park in Clairemont, where he pointed the shotgun out the window and shot the girl in the back, the prosecutor alleged.
"He (Barron) wanted to hurt someone that night, he decided to hurt someone that night, and he did hurt someone that night," DiCarlo told the jury.
The prosecutor said Barron instructed his girlfriend to "slow down" and turn off the lights on her Toyota 4Runner as she approached the park about 1:20 a.m.
After he fired a 1-ounce slug, Barron told people in the car, "I think I hit someone, I think I hit a girl," DiCarlo said.
Barron hid the shotgun in a bush in Sunset Cliffs and fled to Mexico after the shooting, where he washed the 4Runner "inside and out" to make sure there was no gunshot residue on the vehicle, according to the prosecutor.
Two men in the 4Runner that night came forward and told police what happened, DiCarlo said.
"It was no accident," DiCarlo said of the victim's death. "The defendant pointed that gun right at Jose (Milan Flores) and Joanna ... and he didn't miss. He intended to kill, plain and simple."
Deputy Public Defender David Thompson told the jury that Barron fired into the park, not knowing anyone was there.
"It (the killing) might be something, but it's not murder," Thompson said in his closing argument.
The attorney said Barron did try to hide after the park shooting, but had no intent to kill that night and had no motive to kill the girl.
"This is a tragic, stupid idiotic act," the attorney said.
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