The trial against the suspected gunman in the shooting death of a Navy sailor trying to do a good deed along Interstate 15 began Monday with jury selection.
Edson Acuna is accused of shooting SW3 Curtis Adams on Oct. 27, 2018, after the sailor and his girlfriend pulled over on I-15 in Mountain View to help who they thought was a stranded driver, according to the San Diego Police Department.
The 21-year-old’s girlfriend testified that his last words were, “I’m going to be a good Samaritan today.”
Edson Acuna faces various gun-related charges, including first-degree murder, felon in possession of a firearm, possession of an assault weapon, possession of ammunition by a prohibited person, robbery, burglary, and shooting in an occupied motor vehicle, according to officials.
Roughly two months after the shooting, the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office identified four suspects in the incident: Edson Acuna, 25; his brother, Brandon Acuna, 22; Harvey Liberato, 25; and Susana Galvan, 39.
Prosecutors said the four were involved in an attempted robbery minutes before Adams was killed. The group supposedly thought Adams was following them after the break-in, confusing him for the robbery victim.
“He took two steps and I heard a gunshot,” said Adams’ girlfriend, Deja Harris. “No words were exchanged.”
Edson Acuna was accused of pulling the trigger, resulting in Adams’ death, according to prosecutors.
Brandon Acuna was arrested in October 2018, and Liberato was arrested the following month, police said. Edson Acuna allegedly fled south of the border and was later arrested in Mexico in December 2018.
Brandon Acuna pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury. Liberato pleaded guilty to similar charges that Edson Acuna now faces. Galvan pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact, according to the city.
According to Brandon Acuna’s plea agreement, he will be sentenced to 13 years in prison. If Edson Acuna is convicted, he faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Edson Acuna’s trial began at 9 a.m. at San Diego Central Courthouse downtown.
Ed. Note: A previous version of the article incorrectly stated the shooting took place on Interstate 8. The article has been updated, and we regret the error.