Paul Alamo cried uncontrollably today as he told how and why he shot Mark Hasty to death in October 2003. So did members of Alamo's and Hasty's families.
Alamo, testifying for four and a half hours in San Joaquin County Superior Court, said Hasty was driving on Hogan Road in the early evening of Oct. 13, 2003, when Hasty's truck come directly at him, not allowing him to drive past him.
Alamo, 48, said he backed his car up and saw the 47-year-old Hasty reaching for the seat of his car.
"In my mind, he's getting a gun," Alamo said.
Alamo told the jury that he got some bullets out of his glove compartment to put in his gun, just in case. Then Hasty got out of his truck.
"I see a knife in his hand," Alamo said. "I back up and try to get away."
Swearing at Alamo, Hasty accused Alamo of being on Hasty's property in the early morning hours of Oct. 12, 2003, about a day and a half before the fatal shooting.
Using gestures, Alamo said he had both hands in the air, with his right hand holding a gun, as he pleaded with Hasty to drop his knife.
"I believe he said, 'I'm going to kill you, motherf--' " Alamo testified.
"I said, 'Please don't come any closer,' " Alamo said. "Then he lunged at me."
Defense attorney Ralph Cingcon then asked Alamo why he shot Hasty.
"Because he was going to kill me," Alamo replied.
That statement brought tears to Alamo and to family members on both sides of the aisle - Alamo's and Hasty's.
Hasty than walked about 120 feet before slumping to the ground, Alamo said.
Alamo tried to hide his tears as he looked away from his attorney, the jury and gallery for about five minutes as he talked about the fatal shooting. Finally, Cingcon, Alamo's attorney, told Alamo he needed to turn around and face the court.
Seconds later, Judge Bernard Garber called a recess.
Earlier today, Alamo told the court about his investigation of a series of burglaries of outbuildings and bulk fuel that had plagued the neighborhood in the area of East Armstrong Road, Mundy Lane, Furry Road and Hogan Lane.
He used his skills as a security alarm company owner, a Neighborhood Watch activist and contacts with law enforcement while talking to neighbors about the reported burglaries.
Alamo and sheriff's detectives were on Hasty's property in Alamo's neighborhood east of Highway 99 in southeast Lodi after he saw a truck that resembled a truck Alamo thought was used in a burglary nearby the previous night, according to testimony.
But Alamo became concerned after a sheriff's deputy on Hasty's property allegedly told Hasty that Alamo's vehicle belonged to a neighbor who was aware of the neighborhood burglaries, Alamo told the court.
At the time, Alamo said he thought that Hasty was one of many burglary victims in the rural neighborhood, not a suspect. But that assumption changed, he said, mid-day on Oct. 13, 2003, when sheriff's Detective Randy Bender told Alamo that someone on the Hasty property told him that Hasty was actually a burglar.
Alamo was cross-examined briefly today by Deputy District Attorney Lester Fleming, but the bulk of the cross-examination will take place starting at 9 a.m. Friday in Department 23, in the county courthouse, 222 E. Weber Ave.
First published: Thursday, March 2, 2006