SAN DIEGO — A parolee who went on a rampage in late 2013, fatally shooting a friend whom he thought had disrespected his girlfriend, then wounded a man in La Jolla over a drug debt, was convicted Thursday of first-degree murder, attempted murder and possession of a firearm by a felon.
A jury deliberated only a few hours before finding Joseph Anthony Hill guilty of murdering Sean O’Toole and wounding Travis Bondurant on Dec. 29, 2013.
Hill, 45, who has six prior felony convictions for robbery, drug and assault crimes, faces at least 84 years to life in prison when he is sentenced July 10 by Judge Frederic Link.
Deputy District Attorney Joe McLaughlin told the jury that Hill went to O’Toole’s Linda Vista home about 5 p.m. armed with a firearm in his waistband and confronted the victim in the backyard over a statement he’d previously made about the defendant’s girlfriend, who accompanied him to the residence.
McLaughlin said Hill pulled a 9mm weapon, prompting the 47-year-old victim to say “What are you going to do, shoot me?”
Hill fired into the ground, then shot O’Toole in the chest, the prosecutor said, then fled with his girlfriend, Marla Caniglia, who later pleaded guilty to being an accessory.
McLaughlin said O’Toole’s girlfriend witnessed the murder.
Defense attorney Stewart Dadmun argued that the alleged insult to Caniglia had already been cleared up when Hill went to talk to O’Toole.
About three hours later, Hill kicked in the door of a motel room in La Jolla and shot Bondurant once in the stomach over a $200 drug debt, McLaughlin told the jury.
Bondurant spent five months in a hospital but survived, the prosecutor said.
The next morning, law enforcement officers tracked Hill to a home on Catalina Boulevard in Point Loma. When Hill tried to drive away, officers opened fire, wounding him. A 9mm handgun was found after Hill crashed his vehicle, according to McLaughlin.
Dadmun told the jury that Hill shot O’Toole in self-defense. The defense attorney said Hill owed O’Toole money and went to talk to him the night of the shooting. Once at the victim’s home, O’Toole became angry and Hill shot him once to stop him, then fled the scene, Dadmun told the jury.
Dadmun said O’Toole was still walking and talking when he left, so he assumed he was OK. A friend dropped O’Toole at a hospital, where he collapsed and died, according to Dadmun.
Dadmun said his client did not shoot Bondurant and urged jurors to find Hill not guilty.