SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A wanted man who drove off and dragged a deputy U.S. marshal through a Clairemont Mesa intersection after the officer stopped the car and tried to take the keys from the ignition was convicted Thursday of 13 counts, including assault with a deadly weapon.
Matthew Motsenbocker, 32, will be sentenced Sept. 20. He faces a maximum 29 years in state prison.
After deliberating for less than three hours Wednesday, a jury found Motsenbocker guilty of charges related to three pending cases as well as the July 6, 2012, assault on Deputy U.S. Marshal Don Allie.
Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Fraser delayed reading of the verdicts until Thursday morning.
"I thought the verdict was the right verdict here," Deputy District Attorney Robert Eacret said outside court. "I think it proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did drag the U.S. marshal and and the marshal shot him in self-defense fearing for his life."
In his opening statement of trial, Eacret asked jurors to hold Motsenbocker accountable for his "getaway at all costs" mentality.
Eacret said U.S. marshals were looking for Motsenbocker on July 6, 2012, after he failed to appear in court for stealing shirts from a department store and trying to pass a phony check.
Marshals pulled over a white Volvo driven by the defendant's girlfriend as she left Interstate 805 at Balboa Avenue.
Eacret said the woman exited the vehicle with the car still running, but when Deputy Marshal Allie reached in to take the keys out of the ignition, Motsenbocker slid over from the passenger seat and hit the accelerator.
With his body half in the vehicle as he was being dragged, Allie "in fear for his life" fired his weapon, hitting the defendant in the chest, Eacret said.
"He (Allie) was thinking, `I need to shoot, and I need to make it good,' " the prosecutor told the jury.
Allie was thrown from the Volvo and suffered traumatic head injuries and road rash to the face, Eacret said.
Motsenbocker's attorney, Raymundo Pacello Jr., told the jury that Allie never identified himself as a peace officer and stuck a gun under the defendant's armpit.
"Matthew Motsenbocker was in fear for his life," Pacello told the jury. "He (Allie) said, ‘I'm going to kill you, (expletive). Matt thought he was going to die."'
When confronted, Motsenbocker pushed the accelerator in an attempt to get out of the situation, his attorney said.
On the witness stand, Motsenbocker admitted that he was guilty of all of the charges related to his open cases, but not the assault charge.
Motsenbocker, who has a burglary "strike" conviction from 2004, was also convicted of possession of a firearm and ammunition by a felon, auto theft, burglary, receiving stolen property, possession of forged documents, using an access card to defraud, receiving stolen property and allegations that he committed the crimes while he was out on bail on other charges.
The wife of a San Diego police officer accused of domestic violence is standing by her husband and thinks SDPD should do the same.