A man accused of fatally shooting a Linda Vista resident in the victim’s home and wounding another man in La Jolla three hours later must stand trial on murder and attempted murder charges, a judge ruled Friday.
Joseph Anthony Hill — who has six prior felony convictions — faces up to 85 years to life in state prison if convicted.
After a two-day preliminary hearing, Judge David Gill found that enough evidence was presented for the 44-year-old Hill to stand trial for the Dec. 29 murder of 47-year-old Sean O’Toole and the premeditated attempted murder of Travis Bondurant.
A second defendant, Marla Caniglia, is charged with being an accessory after the fact in O’Toole’s murder and attempted murder as an aider and abettor in the shooting of Bondurant.
Caniglia, 35, faces 12 years behind bars if convicted.
According to court testimony, Hill and Caniglia went to O’Toole home in Linda Vista about 5 p.m. on Dec. 29.
A woman who was at the home testified that Hill shot O’Toole once in the chest after a brief confrontation in the backyard. O’Toole died about 90 minutes later at a hospital. A motive for the shooting was not known.
About three hours later, Caniglia drove Hill to the Biltmore Motel in La Jolla, where Bondurant was staying.
The victim was shot once in the stomach and was discovered along La Jolla Boulevard, close to the motel.
According to court testimony, Caniglia and Hill had visited Bondurant a day earlier, and she fronted the victim $200 worth of methamphetamine with payment due the day he was shot.
About 8:30 a.m. on Dec. 30, U.S. Marshals task force members saw Hill leaving a home in the 1600 block of Catalina Boulevard in Point Loma and approached him to make an arrest.
Hill got into his vehicle and attempted to drive away, prompting several officers to open fire, wounding the defendant.
Officers found a loaded 9 mm handgun next to Hill’s vehicle, authorities said.
A criminalist testified that the bullets found after the O’Toole murder and the Bondurant attempted murder were fired from the same gun.
The defendants will be back in court Aug. 12 for arraignment in Superior Court.
— City News Service