Verdict watch in neighbor vs. neighbor murder - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Verdict watch in neighbor vs. neighbor murder

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) – Jurors continue deliberations in the trial of Michael Vilkin.

The 62-year-old killed his neighbor over a property dispute, but says it was self-defense.

He faces 35 years to life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder in the March 28, 2013, death of 56-year-old John Upton, a documentary filmmaker who gained fame for his crusade to rescue Romanian orphans.

Deputy District Attorney David Uyar told jurors that on the day of the shooting, Vilkin showed up with two workers to cut bushes and shrubbery on his property adjacent to Upton's rental home. When Upton walked up an easement and approached Vilkin, the defendant "calmly and cooly" shot him in the abdomen from close range and then fired again, hitting him in the head, according to the prosecutor.

Arriving officers found Vilkin's 44-caliber Magnum in a case, but no other weapons were found near Upton's body, the prosecutor said. Defense attorney Richard Berkon told the jury that the killing was "justified." He said Upton had been bullying, intimidating and cursing at Vilkin for months because he didn't like the defendant clearing trees and ruining the view.

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