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Case of the new-moon shooter

Did Weldon McDavid schedule shooting for the month's darkest night?

Diana Lovejoy, 44, Weldon McDavid, 50, attorney Brad Patton in court
Diana Lovejoy, 44, Weldon McDavid, 50, attorney Brad Patton in court

The criminal case against Diana Lovejoy, 44, and Weldon McDavid, 50, in which she is accused of hiring him to shoot her estranged husband, made another step forward late yesterday afternoon (Wednesday, October 18). Judge Sim von Kalinowski decided whether certain pieces of evidence will be allowed before the jury during the upcoming trial. Jury selection is expected to begin next week.

The prosecutor alleged McDavid practiced with an untraceable firearm, later found in his garage.

All attorneys want the jury to go on a “scene view”: they will be bused to the site of the shooting. The judge tentatively approved the request. The movement of jurors and defendants would be coordinated by the San Diego County Sheriff. The judge and attorneys seemed to agree this field trip should be at night, after 10 p.m., so that jurors can best understand the circumstances of the alleged ambush.

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Defense attorneys protested, but Judge Kalinowski accepted from the prosecutor new, amended information. The paperwork contains new allegations, some of which are:

Former Marine and shooting instructor McDavid told Lovejoy he would have tactical advantage if the ambush could take place during a new moon (that is, no visible moon). Lovejoy then made an internet search to find the date of the next new moon, which was September 1, 2016. Her estranged husband Greg Mulvihill was shot that night.

Greg Mulvihill reportedly is familiar w the Switch Back Trails near his home.

The conspirators obtained “Pinger” numbers to aid their secret communications, according to the prosecutor.

Lovejoy selected a place she knew her husband was familiar with, the “Switchback Trails,” and she informed McDavid that her husband would agree to meet there for the alleged planned ambush.

The prosecutor claims McDavid used his own unregistered weapon when he was target practicing, after hours, at the Iron Sights shooting range where he worked; he practiced shooting at targets that were placed at different distances.

The Switchbacks Trails east of Rancho Santa Fe

On the pre-arranged day of the shooting, says the prosecutor, McDavid attached a suppressor, scope, and “brass bag” (for bullets) to his weapon and put it into a rifle bag. He put the bagged rifle plus .223 ammunition and a long-sleeved camouflage shirt into his Jeep. He then drove from his home in Temecula to meet Lovejoy at the Park and Ride in Carlsbad. Lovejoy allegedly arranged a babysitter for her son so she could meet McDavid there; she brought him the “burner phone” she had purchased and then drove the hired sniper to the ambush location.

Lovejoy turned off her phone, trying to avoid GPS tracking, according to the prosecutor.

Judge Sim von Kalinowski will decide what evidence the jury hears.

McDavid fired six rounds at Mulvihill, who became a moving target after the first shot, it is alleged. After the shooting, McDavid went to Rancho Santa Fe Road to be picked up by Lovejoy, says the prosecutor, who added a new allegation of premeditation; this bumps up the possible penalty to life sentence, with parole, for both defendants.

The first batch of potential jurors is expected to be brought into judge Sim von Kalinowski’s courtroom on Tuesday, October 24, in San Diego’s North County Superior Courthouse in Vista.

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Diana Lovejoy, 44, Weldon McDavid, 50, attorney Brad Patton in court
Diana Lovejoy, 44, Weldon McDavid, 50, attorney Brad Patton in court

The criminal case against Diana Lovejoy, 44, and Weldon McDavid, 50, in which she is accused of hiring him to shoot her estranged husband, made another step forward late yesterday afternoon (Wednesday, October 18). Judge Sim von Kalinowski decided whether certain pieces of evidence will be allowed before the jury during the upcoming trial. Jury selection is expected to begin next week.

The prosecutor alleged McDavid practiced with an untraceable firearm, later found in his garage.

All attorneys want the jury to go on a “scene view”: they will be bused to the site of the shooting. The judge tentatively approved the request. The movement of jurors and defendants would be coordinated by the San Diego County Sheriff. The judge and attorneys seemed to agree this field trip should be at night, after 10 p.m., so that jurors can best understand the circumstances of the alleged ambush.

Sponsored
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Defense attorneys protested, but Judge Kalinowski accepted from the prosecutor new, amended information. The paperwork contains new allegations, some of which are:

Former Marine and shooting instructor McDavid told Lovejoy he would have tactical advantage if the ambush could take place during a new moon (that is, no visible moon). Lovejoy then made an internet search to find the date of the next new moon, which was September 1, 2016. Her estranged husband Greg Mulvihill was shot that night.

Greg Mulvihill reportedly is familiar w the Switch Back Trails near his home.

The conspirators obtained “Pinger” numbers to aid their secret communications, according to the prosecutor.

Lovejoy selected a place she knew her husband was familiar with, the “Switchback Trails,” and she informed McDavid that her husband would agree to meet there for the alleged planned ambush.

The prosecutor claims McDavid used his own unregistered weapon when he was target practicing, after hours, at the Iron Sights shooting range where he worked; he practiced shooting at targets that were placed at different distances.

The Switchbacks Trails east of Rancho Santa Fe

On the pre-arranged day of the shooting, says the prosecutor, McDavid attached a suppressor, scope, and “brass bag” (for bullets) to his weapon and put it into a rifle bag. He put the bagged rifle plus .223 ammunition and a long-sleeved camouflage shirt into his Jeep. He then drove from his home in Temecula to meet Lovejoy at the Park and Ride in Carlsbad. Lovejoy allegedly arranged a babysitter for her son so she could meet McDavid there; she brought him the “burner phone” she had purchased and then drove the hired sniper to the ambush location.

Lovejoy turned off her phone, trying to avoid GPS tracking, according to the prosecutor.

Judge Sim von Kalinowski will decide what evidence the jury hears.

McDavid fired six rounds at Mulvihill, who became a moving target after the first shot, it is alleged. After the shooting, McDavid went to Rancho Santa Fe Road to be picked up by Lovejoy, says the prosecutor, who added a new allegation of premeditation; this bumps up the possible penalty to life sentence, with parole, for both defendants.

The first batch of potential jurors is expected to be brought into judge Sim von Kalinowski’s courtroom on Tuesday, October 24, in San Diego’s North County Superior Courthouse in Vista.

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The account delivered by the prosecutor is remarkably detailed and has a blow-by-blow quality that is most unusual. Where did he get it, other than in his own mind? It is quite possible that one or both of the defs has confessed, and in enough specificity to make this story seamless. Or in attempt to blame the other, both have spelled out the planning of the other while attempting to minimize their respective roles.

One thing that I find puzzling is the comment of how the prosecutor just added the element of premeditation. The whole scenario was one of premeditation, not some sort of spur-of-the-moment undertaking. Premeditation, last I heard, equals attempted murder in the first degree. But one thing is missing. The story told implies "lying in wait" for the intended victim to show up. And lying in wait is one of the many special circumstances which can make a murder or attempted murder even more serious, exposing the perp to a life sentence with no parole.

Finally, why a guy like McDavid would risk his freedom for a paltry $2,000, as mentioned elsewhere, is hard to grasp. If he wanted to be a professional hit man he needed to ask for a hundred times that price, and better prepare the take down.

Oct. 19, 2017

After a hearing this morning, June 22, 2022, it appears that Diana Lovejoy, now 49, will be back in court attempting to overturn her conviction, or at least shorten her California prison sentence. Hon. judge Sim von Kalinowski, who heard the trial, heard from attorneys today, Lovejoy remains in California’s women prison in Chowchilla. On September 30, 2018, the California Legislature passed new laws which became effective January 1, 2019. Prior to Senate Bill No. 1437, defendants could be charged with murder even if they were not the actual killer. The new law is intended to keep those defendants from being charged with murder, and legislators further passed 1170.95 so that defendants who were already convicted of murder could have their convictions vacated, if that person was not the actual killer. Diana Lovejoy was not the actual shooter, it was her lover and gun instructor Weldon McDavid who actually shot Diana’s husband in the torso. They were both convicted of conspiracy and attempted murder. She got 26 years to life and he got 50 years to life, Lovejoy was 45 and McDavid was 50 when they were sentenced in January 2018. Also, the 4th district court of appeals made several rulings, starting in 2018, that deal with conspiracy to commit murder; the appeals court found that conspiracy does not qualify as a crime of violence for purposes of sentencing enhancement guidelines. That court declared that conspiracy to commit murder is not a crime of violence because an attempt to commit murder does not invariably require use of force or threat of force.

The California Inmate Locator website states that Lovejoy is currently eligible for parole in May 2033.

June 22, 2022
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