Jury selection got underway Monday for the trial of an ex-con facing up to 34 years to life in state prison if convicted of shooting a man in the head over a missing cellphone in Indio nearly a year ago.
John Kevin Medina, 40, is charged with attempted murder and also faces several sentence-enhancing allegations, including causing great bodily injury and using a firearm during the commission of a felony.
Riverside County Superior Court James S. Hawkins heard pretrial motions related to scheduling, proposed witnesses and other matters at the Larson Justice Center in Indio before prospective jurors began cycling in and out of the courtroom.
Opening statements could begin as soon as March 17, according to prosecutors.
Medina allegedly shot the victim, identified in court papers as Filberto C., about 12:40 a.m. last March 14 in the 44700 block of King Street. He was arrested three days later.
Police officers found the wounded victim inside a white van that had crashed into parked vehicles on King Street.
Indio Police Department Detective Jesse Marin alleged during a preliminary hearing last September that Medina opened fire as the victim drove away because the defendant believed his missing cellphone was inside the van.
Witnesses reported seeing the defendant arguing with the man inside the van regarding the defendant’s missing phone before the van was driven away, Marin testified.
Deputy District Attorney Karen Salas alleged the defendant fired between five and six shots at the vehicle while standing about 6 feet away.
The victim was hospitalized in critical condition but survived, according to police.
Medina has several documented felony convictions in Riverside County, including attempted assault with a firearm and criminal threats, which are both strike offenses. He was also previously convicted of evading arrest, embezzlement and possession of a controlled substance for sale.
He’s being held in lieu of $1 million bail at the Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta.
>> Want to read more stories like this? Get our Free Daily Newsletters Here!Follow us: