Highway 163 Shooter Convicted

Stephen Dragasits fired shots on highway 163 in April 2011

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Dragasits sits and listens to testimony in his preliminary hearing on July 11, 2011.

    A jury convicted 60-year-old Stephen Dragasits on Thursday for shooting at cars along highway 163 in April 2011.

    Dragasits shot a 21-year-old University of San Diego student in the abdomen and while she was traveling on southbound State Route 163 north of Balboa Avenue. Another car was also damaged by the bullets.

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    Stephen Dragasits, 58, faced his accusers Monday in a preliminary hearing. He allegedly fired -- at random -- a gun at state Route 163 morning traffic on April 25, injuring Ashley Simmons, a University of San Diego student, and striking Jeffrey Lloyd-Jones' vehicle. (Published Monday, Jul 11, 2011)

    Dragasits was arrested more than two weeks after the incident and was identified as a transient that lived in a motor home often parked on Kearny Villa Road.

    Last year, jurors could not come to an agreement in the case of Dragasits. He faced six counts including attempted murder, shooting at an occupied vehicle and assault with a firearm.

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    Stephen Joseph Dragasits has a criminal record that includes throwing rocks in the vicinity of the April shootings. (Published Friday, Apr 22, 2011)

    The case then went to retrial.

    On Thursday, Dragasits was convicted of two counts of shooting at an occupied car and assault with a firearm. But jurors were undecided on the attempted murder charge.

    “As a survivor of this unthinkable act of gun violence, I'm disappointed that this criminal wasn't convicted on all counts – but I'm relieved to know that he will likely be locked away for the remainder of his life," said victim Ashley Simmons in a prepared statement.

    Dragasits could be sentenced anywhere from 36 years and 8 months to life in prison, according to the district attorney’s office. Sentencing will be held at a later date.

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