A man accused of breaking into a Los Osos home while armed in 2009 to steal marijuana and money — a robbery that prompted the shooting death of his accomplice — began his murder trial Thursday afternoon in San Luis Obispo Superior Court.
Opening statements were made in the case against 36-year-old Jesse Bakerriley, who’s accused of forcing his way into a residence on 12th Street on July 19, 2009, and causing the tenant there to fire five shots — three of which struck Bakerriley, who survived, and one that struck and killed 20-year-old Kelsey Alvarez of Templeton.
Bakerriley has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder (by provocation of the incident), burglary and robbery.
Prosecutor Eric Dobroth laid out his description of the events, saying the resident, 23-year-old Peter Davis, who had a doctor’s note to cultivate medical marijuana, felt threatened, grabbed a gun and then shot at Bakerriley, who had been pointing a gun at him.
Dobroth said one of the bullets he fired hit Alvarez, who had come with Bakerriley. A friend of Davis’ who was also held up in the robbery fled the home and wasn’t hurt.
“(Davis) was thinking, ‘How is this going to end?’ ” Dobroth said. “He thought, ‘Am I going to be executed?’ ”
The defendant’s attorney, Thomas McCormick, said in opening statements that Davis was responsible for the shooting of Alvarez.
McCormick said Bakerriley went to the home to collect a debt, and while he may not have handled the situation properly, he’s not to blame for the shooting, Davis is the one who “murdered” Alvarez, McCormick said.
“Davis hunted down Alvarez and blatantly murdered him,” McCormick said.
Davis took the stand and testified that he was “the most scared I’ve ever been in my life” by the invasion, which is why he grabbed his gun and fired shots at Bakerriley, one of which strayed and hit Alvarez, who wasn’t in the same room, he said.
“I was in shock — I was terrified,” Davis said. “I’ve never had a gun pointed at me.”
Davis said he was eating Thai food in his home when Bakerriley knocked on the door and demanded to know where “Scooter” was. Davis said he’d never seen Bakerriley or Alvarez before.
Both men entered the house and talked to Davis and his friend. As they spoke, Bakerriley wielded a gun, warning Davis not to try anything because he was a thug. Bakerriley demanded money and marijuana, Davis said.
Davis said he took $200 and his cell phone out of his pocket, but Bakerriley ignored that. Davis said Bakerriley’s eyes were wide and he was shaking, which scared Davis.
Davis grabbed his 22-caliber handgun after being led into a back room of the house by Bakerriley. Once in the room, Davis started firing shots. He said he never saw Alvarez during the time he fired the gun.
McCormick hasn’t yet started his cross-examination of Davis, which is expected to happen today when the trial resumes at 1:30 p.m. in Judge Barry LaBarbera’s court.