An appeals court Friday upheld an attempted murder conviction for a Thermal man who shot a security guard after being thrown out of a Palm Springs nightclub.
Sheldon Alfred Auclair Jr., 34, was sentenced to 32 years to life for shooting Zelda’s guard Eugenio Bradford outside the club during the predawn hours of April 18, 2014.
In addition to the attempted murder count, Auclair was convicted of assault with a firearm and jurors found true sentencing enhancements for discharging a firearm causing great bodily injury and committing a street gang crime with a firearm.
Deputy District Attorney Hawlee Valente said Auclair was kicked out of Zelda’s for throwing a woman to the ground, but he remained outside the club, where he and a friend got into an argument with another group.
That altercation was broken up by Bradford and another Zelda’s security guard, Cody Kennedy. Auclair then drew a .45-caliber handgun from his waistband and pointed it at Kennedy, prompting Bradford to tell the defendant, “Just leave, man. Now we’ll have to involve the police,” according to the prosecutor.
Instead of leaving as suggested, Auclair shot Bradford in the stomach — an injury which resulted in three surgeries and kept the victim hospitalized for more than a month, Valente said.
Deputy Public Defender Dennette McIntyre contended that Auclair was “legitimately wrongfully accused,” arguing that multiple witnesses saw Auclair kicked out of Zelda’s, yet failed to identify him in a photographic lineup.
McIntyre told jurors that Auclair did get involved in “a scuffle” with a woman at the club, but “left willingly” when guards told him to leave.
She also said numerous club staff saw Auclair escorted out of Zelda’s, but either failed to identify him among suspect photos or offered differing, vague descriptions, such as a man who was “maybe Native American or Hispanic.”
The three justice appeals panel rejected Auclair’s contentions that the evidence was insufficient to show that the shooting was premeditated and deliberate, as Auclair claimed in court papers that he was intoxicated at the time and the gun fired unintentionally as he waved it around in front of the guards.
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