SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Prosecutors are expected to give their opening statement Wednesday in the penalty phase of trial for a man convicted of going on a violent two-year crime spree, which included the murders of two people during a 2005 home-invasion robbery in Valencia Park and the 2007 slaying of a man and the wounding of his girlfriend.
Michael Baraka Mason, 36, was convicted a week ago of three counts of first-degree murder, false imprisonment and special circumstance allegations of murder during a robbery and multiple murders. Jurors also found the crimes were committed for the benefit of a street gang.
Jurors will now determine whether Mason will face the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Deputy District Attorney Anthony Campagna told the jury that Mason was one of several masked robbers who burst into a home on Nov. 25, 2005, and held five people hostage before shooting 31-year-old Meico McGhee and 25-year-old Sacha Newbern. The victims, forced into a bathtub before being shot at close range, died at a hospital the next day.
The prosecutor said Mason "chose to execute" the victims and "chose" to flee. He was caught in Las Vegas in November 2007 after being featured on "America's Most Wanted."
Mason left DNA and other evidence behind that exposed him "as the multiple murderer that he is," Campagna said.
Mason was also convicted of murder and attempted murder in the July 14, 2007, shooting death of 30-year-old Tim Traaen and the wounding of his girlfriend during an attempted armed robbery in Normal Heights.
Police said Traaen and his girlfriend had just left a bar and were about to get into their car on Suncrest Drive when a gunman approached and demanded money just after midnight. Another defendant, Tamoyia Morris, faces a retrial on the 2005 murders after a jury deadlocked on those charges.
Fresh off setting record ratings in its seventh season premiere last weekend, HBO Friday thrilled "Game of Thrones" fans at Comic- Con International at the San Diego Convention Center with a 60-second trailer for upcoming episodes.
After an El Cajon police officer was attacked, a good Samaritan stepped in to help save his life. Now, others are rallying behind the hero to repay her for her selfless actions.
Lighting strikes twice in Pacific Beach after two women were attacked on the very same street corner.
Hawaii is the first state to prepare the public for the possibility of a ballistic missile strike from North Korea.
The unemployment rate in San Diego County was 4.3 percent last month, up from a revised 3.6 percent in May but below the year-ago estimate of 4.9 percent, the state Employment Development Department reported Friday.
A vehicle knocked over a fire hydrant at a large Mission Valley apartment complex Friday, causing a several-story-high geyser that flooded residences and garages on the property and displaced more than two dozen residents.
The crew of the USS Fitzgerald failed to take action in time to avoid a collision with a container ship that killed seven sailors, including two from San Diego County, according to multiple reports released Friday.