Juror dismissed for misconduct in Vilkin trial; deliberations re - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Juror dismissed for misconduct in Vilkin trial; deliberations restart

Posted: Updated:

VISTA (CNS) - Deliberations started anew Thursday when a juror was dismissed for alleged misconduct in the trial of an Encinitas man who shot and killed a neighbor with whom he had an ongoing dispute over the cutting of bushes and trees on the defendant's vacant lot in Olivenhain.

Michael Vilkin, 62, 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 living in nightmarish conditions during the communist dictatorship of Nicolae Ceausescu.

Vilkin, a former economist from the Soviet Union, testified that he shot Upton self-defense.

Jurors got the case Tuesday, but after two days of deliberations, Judge Robert Kearney dismissed a juror for conducting experiments related to the case on his own, which is prohibited.

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 coolly" 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.

The day of the shooting, as his workers cleared brush, Vilkin stood up on a hill and put his gun in his waistband, just in case Upton came out to confront him, his attorney said.

About 30 minutes later, Upton approached saying "Do me a favor!" and Vilkin thought he saw a gun in his hand and shot him, Berkon said.

When the bullet didn't stop Upton, Vilkin shot him a second time, Berkon told the jury.

After the shooting, Vilkin called 911 and told authorities that he was the person who fired the shots because "he had nothing to hide," his attorney said.

A cellphone was located near Upton's body.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Police update neighbors about North Park attacks

    Police update neighbors about North Park attacks

    Thursday, July 24 2014 2:47 AM EDT2014-07-24 06:47:06 GMT
    San Diego police assure North Park residents their community is a safe place to live and they are doing everything they can to catch the predators attacking women 
    San Diego police assure North Park residents their community is a safe place to live and they are doing everything they can to catch the predators attacking women 
  • City wasting water while telling us to conserve?

    City wasting water while telling us to conserve?

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 11:07 PM EDT2014-07-24 03:07:29 GMT
    While the San Diego City Council may be preaching water conservation, some city work crews may not be heeding the word. 
    While the San Diego City Council may be preaching water conservation, some city work crews may not be heeding the word. 
  • Freed sex offender accused of attacking 70-year-old woman

    Freed sex offender accused of attacking 70-year-old woman

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 11:06 PM EDT2014-07-24 03:06:59 GMT
    A previously paroled sex offender accused of sexually assaulting a 70-year-old Jacumba resident in her home pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of assault with intent to commit a sex offense and hot prowl residential burglary. 
    A previously paroled sex offender accused of sexually assaulting a 70-year-old Jacumba resident in her home pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of assault with intent to commit a sex offense and hot prowl residential burglary. 
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and Midwest Television, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.