A bizarre shooting in Carlsbad involved a contentious custody fight and a mysterious phone call from a man with a deep voice promising documents the victim “would want to see,” according to testimony.
In court Tuesday, Gregory Mulvihill described the night he was shot in the chest along an isolated access road off Avenida Soledad in Carlsbad.
His ex-wife, Diana Lovejoy, faces charges in the shooting along with Weldon McDavid Jr. Carlsbad police say McDavid, an employee at a shooting range in Oceanside, had been teaching Lovejoy how to shoot.
Lovejoy and Mulvihill separated in 2014. A few months before the shooting, Mulvihill was awarded joint custody of the couple's son. Prior to that, he had 10 hours of visitation per week.
Hours before the shooting, Mulvihill got a call from a “man with a deep voice” identifying himself as a criminal investigator and offering information he would want.
“He said they were documents I would want to see,” he testified. “He wouldn’t explain further.”
The documents would be taped to a utility pole on the hill in a nearby canyon, according to the man on the phone, Mulvihill said.
“I thought about it for a while. Because I had spent so much time and money fighting for custody for my son, I wasn’t going to risk not going to investigate these mysterious documents,” Mulvihill said.
Mulvihill asked a co-worker to go with him. As the two men walked toward the pole with a flashlight and a child's baseball bat, Mulvihill said he saw a rifle on the ground.
"I stared out for a couple of seconds before I realized I was looking at a rifle and a scope,” he testified.
Mulvihill testified he heard one gun shot and said he felt like he was shot in his back. As he turned and ran from the area, he heard six or seven shots several seconds later, he testified.
His co-worker escaped injury. The two men ran to their car and then drove to a nearby bus stop where they called 911.
A Carlsbad police officer rushed Mulvihill to a nearby hospital. He eventually underwent surgery for the wound to his side.
Under cross-examination, Mulvihill testified there was a restraining order and an allegation of domestic violence at the time of his separation from his ex-wife. Also, the initial custody agreement required supervised visitation with Mulvihill.
McDavid was the gun instructor for Crystal Harris, who was allegedly raped by her husband.
On Dateline NBC in 2013, he talked about his anger after hearing tapes of Harris allegedly being raped by her husband.
"It was too much," he said. "I wanted to kill him."
In the interview, he talked about teaching Harris to fire under pressure.
"I had her do exercises, then run into the range and told her grab the gun shoot," he said in the interview.
Harris ended up choosing not to use a gun and instead took her husband to court.
A legal expert not tied to the case says the Dateline interview will likely play a part in his trial.
McDavid's attorney, Rafael Acosta Jr., told NBC 7 his client is a veteran, a family man and a compassionate person who likes to help others. He said the only connection to the cases is a man who was trying to train two women in need.
Mulvihill's testimony was part of the preliminary hearing to determine if Lovejoy and McDavid will be bound over for trial. Each defendant pleaded not guilty. The hearing will resume on March 6.
If convicted, McDavid is facing 50 years to life in prison while Lovejoy faces 25 years to life.
According to the prosecutor in the case, Lovejoy is facing the lesser term because she did not pull the trigger, but was ‘vicariously armed with a firearm’ and was aware and participated in the shooting.