Jeff Smith 9 a.m., May 24
Defendant who admitted stabbing is declared guilty of second degree murder
Christopher James Selena claimed it was self-defense
The 42-year-old defendant took the witness box and admitted stabbing the 23-year-old man to death.
Christopher James Selena said that just a few minutes before, he had gotten a phone call from his ex-girlfriend. “She just called me to come over, ‘I need help.’”
The defendant said he understood it was a “distress call” and he believed that his 28-year-old ex-girlfriend, the mother of his two children, Shaquita, was getting “burned” on a drug deal.
Selena said his ex-girlfriend Shaquita told him somebody took her money and wouldn’t leave and that man phoned “some people to come beat me up.” Selena was nearby and he got to her rented townhome at 868 North Fig Street, in Escondido, in just minutes.
Shaquita was the first witness during a jury trial that started ten days ago, on September 30. She admitted phoning Christopher Selena after 3 a.m. that morning, more than a year ago, in May 2012.
Christopher Selena said that Shaquita left the garage doors open for him, and when he went inside, he found the place was dark and silent. He went upstairs, and soon saw a man sitting on the edge of the bed in the master bedroom. Selena told the jury he stabbed the man with a knife he always had with him, clipped to his belt.
Shaquita confirmed to the jury that she was soaking in the tub of the master bathroom, just a few steps away, during the brief struggle. She described hearing some sounds, but nobody spoke. She said she turned her head while she was in the bath, but couldn’t see much.
“How evil is it?” asked defense attorney Terry Zimmerman. “She is not an honorable person.” The defense attorney characterized the fatal confrontation as a “set-up” that was put into motion by a drug addict, Shaquita. “She is framing the father of her children for first-degree murder.”
“She played him,” the defense attorney said. “He had no idea the elaborate scheme she had put into play.” And Shaquita “shed no tears” for her new boyfriend, the man who got stabbed to death, but instead went through his pockets looking for money and drugs, according to the defense attorney.
“The depths to which this woman would sink to get her methamphetamine!” defense attorney Zimmerman declared to the jury.
Shaquita was given immunity by the district attorney’s office to testify. Prosecutor Natalie Villaflor charged first degree murder against Christopher Selena.
Defense argued that the fatal confrontation was “a lawful killing in self-defense.”
Police found 23-year-old Fernando Arellano next to the bed, he was pronounced dead on site. Escondido police arrested Christopher James Selena later the same day, at his workplace in Vista. Selena has been held in lieu of $5 million bail since May 5, 2012.
Christopher James Selena, 42, has at least four prior criminal cases recorded in the same courthouse, dating from 1991 when he was 20 years old. These cases include misdemeanor domestic violence, felony vandalism, drug charges, and felon carrying a concealed knife.
The jury of 8 women and 4 men began hearing evidence September 30 and got the case to deliberate mid-day October 9, 2013. After a full day deliberating, Selena was declared guilty of second-degree murder.
Sentencing is set for December 12, before the Honorable Judge Kathleen Lewis in San Diego’s North County Superior Courthouse.
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