A 22-year-old Canyon Lake man who blasted his best friend with a shotgun in what the prosecution argued was a case of intimate feelings gone sour was convicted Tuesday of second-degree murder.

After three days of deliberations, a Riverside jury found Houston Michael Boji guilty of the Nov. 10, 2015, shooting death of 18-year-old Nicholas McCauley of Moreno Valley.

The jury also found true sentence-enhancing gun and great bodily injury allegations, and Boji is expected to be sentenced on Sept. 7 to 40 years to life in state prison.

Deputy District Attorney Sharunne Foster argued that Boji intended to kill McCauley and telegraphed his intentions well in advance with threatening texts, including one stating, “I’m serious. I will shoot you when I see you mother(expletive).”

She theorized that Boji had developed passionate feelings for his longtime friend, with whom he socialized almost daily, and became incensed when McCauley did not reciprocate.

The defendant and victim had spent time with each other four days before the Nov. 10, 2015, shooting, and Boji ended up with a cold sore afterward, which the prosecution suggested was the result of intimate contact.

When Boji texted complaints to McCauley regarding his physical discomfort and unhappiness, the victim evidently did not respond, igniting anger in the defendant, who vowed to shoot McCauley the next time they met, according to the prosecution.

Sheriff’s investigators said Boji armed himself with a fully loaded 12-gauge pump shotgun and went to his friend’s residence in the 25000 block of Soaring Seagull Lane, waited until the victim’s mother left for work, then slipped into the house, where McCauley was still asleep in his bedroom.

Boji fired one round into McCauley’s left arm at close range — so close that the buckshot dispersed throughout the sleeping victim’s entire chest cavity, killing him on the spot, according to the prosecution.

The defendant initially told detectives that McCauley had killed himself, but in succeeding statements admitted firing the shot.

According to Boji’s attorneys, he never wanted to kill the victim. The defense argued that there were no homosexual impulses, and that Boji was only interested in scaring McCauley because of a minor dispute, without realizing the shotgun was loaded.

Boji has no documented prior felony convictions.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.