Jury begins deliberating in Carlsbad murder-for-hire plot case

VISTA, Calif. -- Jury deliberations began Thursday in the trial of a woman and her gun instructor accused of carrying out a plan to shoot her estranged husband on a dark dirt road in Carlsbad last year.

Diana Lovejoy, 45, and Weldon McDavid Jr., 50, are charged with conspiracy to commit murder and attempted murder in the attack on Greg Mulvihill.

Greg Mulvihill (L), Weldon McDavid Jr. (C) and Diana Lovejoy (R)

McDavid faces 50 years to life in prison if convicted, and Lovejoy could be sentenced to 25 years to life if she's found guilty.

Prosecutor Jodi Breton told jurors in her opening statement that Mulvihill got a call just before 11 p.m on Sept. 1, 2016, from a person claiming to be a private investigator, who supposedly had information on his estranged wife.

The caller instructed Mulvihill to go to a dirt road where he could pick up a package containing materials pertaining to Lovejoy, according to the prosecutor. Mulvihill and a co-worker, Jason Kovach, drove to the area and used a flashlight to look for a package taped to a power pole.

Kovach testified that they saw some rustling in the bushes, then noticed what looked like a person lying in a prone position with an AR-15 pointed at them.

The witness said shots rang out and he and a wounded Mulvihill took off running.

“[He] put a brass catcher on it and posted up 60 feet away from where he lured Mr. Mulvihill to,” said Breton. “He’s still guilty of murder because he took that one shot.”

Breton said Mulvihill, 45, was trying to reclaim his life after Lovejoy had made claims that he had molested their young son and sexually abused her. The couple had been separated since July 2014 and were in the final stages of completing their divorce.

Breton called Lovejoy’s plan of hiring McDavid as a hitman the perfect crime.

“Mr. McDavid filled with bravado filled with 'I am cocky. I’m the best. I’m the smartest. Of course I’m going to be able to carry this out,” Benton said while describing Lovejoy's plot.

Carlsbad police determined that the phone used to call Mulvihill was purchased by Lovejoy, and feces found in the bushes at the scene of the shooting were traced to McDavid, the prosecutor said.

Investigators found a multitude of guns and a silencer in McDavid's garage, and a "blast bag" containing seven spent shell casings, Breton told the jury.

McDavid's attorney, Ricky Crawford, said his client was a trained marksman and former Marine who fired his rifle only after he heard someone yell "I have a gun!"

"If Weldon McDavid wanted to kill someone with his skill set, he would have done so," Crawford told the jury. "That was not his intent."

Crawford said Lovejoy -- whom he met when she took shooting lessons at a gun range where he worked -- told him that she had been trying for years to get someone to do something about her estranged husband allegedly abusing their child.

“The issue is whether or not these two people conspired to commit murder or whether or not he was simply trying to help stop molestation of a 3-year-old," Crawford said.

Brad Patton, Lovejoy's attorney, said his client had taken out a temporary restraining order against Mulvihill because she claimed he was abusing her and their son.

After the restraining order elapsed, Lovejoy still had concerns about her estranged husband but "at no time was there a discussion (or) conspiracy to murder her husband," Patton told the jury.