Painter ordered to stand trial in shooting of sports anchor Kyle Kraska
SAN DIEGO — A house painter accused of ambushing a San Diego television sportscaster and shooting him six times must stand trial on premeditated attempted murder and other charges, a judge ruled Wednesday.
Mike Montana, 54, is accused in the Feb. 10 attack on Kyle Kraska, who works for CBS8.
Kraska testified Tuesday that the defendant pulled up behind his silver Mercedes-Benz as he began to back out of his Scripps Ranch driveway about 3 p.m.
Kraska testified that Montana got out of his van and walked toward him, motioning for Kraska to put the window down.
“He said, `You should have paid me my $2,200,” the sportscaster testified.
Kraska said he saw Montana with a gun and heard a shot, then saw Montana fire three more shots through the hood of his car. He said Montana then pointed the gun at him and fired through the windshield.
Kraska said he heard glass exploding and bailed out of his car and onto the ground.
“I was hoping he (Montana) would run out of bullets,” Kraska testified.
The victim realized he had been shot and got back into his car, then heard Montana drive off.
Kraska said he thought he would die if he didn’t get help, but his cell phone had been destroyed by a bullet. He said he crawled into the middle of the street so he would be seen, and help arrived shortly thereafter.
Witnesses reported seeing an older-model white minivan with the words “Superior Painting” on the sides speeding off after hearing the gunfire.
Montana was tracked to his El Cajon home, where he surrendered to SWAT officers about seven hours after the shooting.
Kraska said he hired Montana to paint his house last October after the defendant taped a business card to the victim’s front door. He said he paid Montana $800 up front and the two agreed that $2,200 was due when the job was completed.
Kraska said Montana quit in early November when Kraska refused to advance the $2,200 still owed because the job wasn’t finished.
About a week before the shooting, Montana left a note under Kraska’s doormat, telling Kraska he owed him $2,200.
Kraska said the note read, “It’s in your best interest to pay me the money that you owe me.”
Deputy District Attorney Rebecca Zipp alleged that Montana shot Kraska a half-dozen times from several feet away, including twice in the upper body, with the intent to kill.
The gunfire left several windows blown out of Kraska’s Mercedes. The victim was found lying face-down on the pavement outside his car and was rushed to Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla.
Kraska said he awoke from a coma 6 1/2 days later and has missed six to seven weeks of work. He said he has had at least three surgeries, including a procedure to remove fluid build-up on his heart.
Judge Michael Smyth ruled that enough evidence was presented at the 1 1/2-day preliminary hearing for Montana to proceed to trial. In addition to premeditated attempted murder with allegations that he caused great bodily injury and personally used a firearm, Montana is charged with shooting into an occupied vehicle.
He also faces separate charges that he made threats against two other people.
Montana will be back in court Aug. 18 and had his trial set for Nov. 2. He faces nearly 38 years to life in prison if convicted.