Jury selection is slated to get underway Tuesday for the trial of a man accused of fatally shooting his boyhood friend during a dispute in Meadowbrook stemming from their bitter parting of ways in a marijuana sales venture.
Stephen John Lindo, 31, of Meadowbrook allegedly killed 29-year-old Michael Louis Hinden of Riverside in October 2020.
Lindo is charged with first-degree murder, witness intimidation, a special circumstance allegation of lying in wait and sentence-enhancing gun and great bodily injury allegations for the alleged attack.
Pretrial motions concluded earlier this week, and Riverside County Superior Court Judge Timothy Hollenhorst ordered several panels of prospective jurors to the Riverside Hall of Justice next week for screening as their availability and qualifications.
Opening statements are expected to start by Sept. 30. Lindo is being held without bail at the Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta.
According to a trial brief filed by the District Attorney’s Office, Lindo and Hinden grew up together in Florida and were close pals, deciding in 2015 to leave the Sunshine State together, relocate to Riverside County and form a cannabis cultivation and sales business.
Hinden’s girlfriend, whose identity was not disclosed, also joined the venture, which was established in the 2200 block of John Street in Meadowbrook, according to the brief.
Court papers allege that by the summer of 2020, Lindo and Hinden were at odds over the defendant’s failure to meet the terms of their business arrangement, selling cannabis products “hundreds of dollars below market value.”
Hinden decided to end the partnership, and on Oct. 5, 2020, he text-messaged Lindo, telling his former friend that he would be dropping by the defendant’s residence to retrieve property that belonged to him, according to the prosecution.
The brief alleges that Lindo obtained a Taser and handgun from his house and took up a position outside to wait for the victim to arrive.
Security surveillance video cameras were mounted around the perimeter of the location because of the on-site marijuana grow and captured much of what transpired, according to the D.A.’s office.
The tape showed the victim arriving and walking onto the property alone, heading straight for one of the grows. He was unarmed, prosecutors said.
Before Hinden reached the grow, Lindo allegedly ambushed him from behind, using the Taser on him, causing the victim to spin around and shout, “What the f—!” according to the brief.
At that point, Lindo pulled out the pistol, stepped toward the victim and fired once into his chest, prosecutors allege.
Hinden attempted to use his mobile phone to call for help, while blood spurted from his mouth, prompting Lindo to allegedly pull the trigger a second time, but the gun jammed, according to the brief.
Hinden collapsed and died moments later. Lindo allegedly covered the body with a tarp and dismantled the security surveillance system, apparently in an attempt to conceal evidence, prosecutors said. He called his attorney to seek advice, culminating in the lawyer directing sheriff’s deputies to the location, where Lindo was arrested without incident several hours later.
He has no documented prior felony convictions in Riverside County.