A house painter accused of shooting television sportscaster Kyle Kraska has been prescribed a variety of medications since 2003, including an “anti-psychotic” drug for which the dosage was increased to a high level, a pharmacist testified Tuesday.
Costco pharmacist Aaron Swann also testified that patient records showed Mike Montana, 55, was also given medications for pain, depression and anxiety.
His testimony came as the defense began presenting its case in the trial of Montana, who is charged with premeditated attempted murder and shooting into an occupied vehicle.
He faces nearly 38 years to life in prison if convicted of shooting Kraska in the bicep, leg and twice in the chest on Feb. 10, 2015, in front of the victim’s Scripps ranch home.
Last week, Kraska testified that a doctor told him he was in “really bad shape” after six bullets had entered his body and that he would have to undergo emergency surgery. Bullets damaged his liver and one of his lungs.
Kraska, the sports director at CBS News 8, testified that he hired Montana to paint the outside of his home in the fall of 2014, with an agreement that called for $800 up front and $2,200 upon completion.
The witness said he wrote a check for $800, but Montana failed to show up the first day and his attendance was not very good after that.
Kraska said Montana’s work was “careless” and the defendant started asking for more money, which Kraska refused to give him. Eventually, Montana said he was “broke” and later quit, saying he couldn’t finish the job, Kraska testified.
Three months later, Montana pounded on Kraska’s front door at 6:30 a.m., leaving a letter under a mat that read in part, “It’s in your best interest to pay me the money you owe me.”
“It was violent, it was scary,” Kraska said of the letter.
A week later, Kraska said he was backing out of his driveway on his way to work about 3 p.m. when Montana pulled up behind him in his work van.
Kraska said Montana walked up to the driver’s side of his car, motioned for him to roll down his window and said, “You should have paid me the $2,200.”
Kraska said he heard a “tremendously loud bang” and saw Montana walk to the front of the car with a gun. The victim said Montana fired at his car’s tires, shot three times into the hood, then pointed the gun at him.
“I was being assassinated, it seemed like,” Kraska testified. “It was chaos. It was beyond comprehension.”
Kraska said he bailed out of the driver’s side door because he had nowhere to go, then dove back into the car while “praying that he (Montana) was going to run out of bullets.”
The victim said he couldn’t call for help because his cell phone was shattered, so he crawled into his cul-de-sac and waited for help. A friend pulled up and called 911.
Kraska said he spent six days in a coma and had to be brought back to life twice.
In his opening statement, defense attorney Richard Jayakumar conceded that Montana “systematically” shot at Kraska’s car, including the side, tires and hood, but maintained that his client “was not trying to kill Mr. Kraska.”
If Montana wanted to kill the victim, he could have shot him point- blank, the defense attorney said.
The defense attorney said Montana was taking a “barrage of medications” at the time. The defendant suffered from significant back problems many years ago and was prescribed powerful pain medications after two surgeries, his lawyer said.
Montana is charged separately with making threats in two other cases.
–City News Service
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