RIVERSIDE – Jury deliberations got underway today in the attempted murder trial of an ex-con who shot his Lake Elsinore neighbor following days of hostility between the two men.
Kevin Ronald Fulkerson, 52, could face more than 25 years in prison if convicted of the attempted murder count, along with assault with a deadly weapon and being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.
According to trial testimony, the confrontation between Fulkerson and 59- year-old Steven Cook was preceded by more than a week of conflict between the two men, who lived adjacent to one another in the 18100 block of Grand Avenue.
Last week, Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Strona played an audio recording of Fulkerson speaking with sheriff’s Investigator Robert Cornett several hours after the defendant was arrested the afternoon of April 9.
Fulkerson insisted during the interview that he was ”the victim” and Cook was ”trespassing” on his property. According to the defendant, Cook had been needling him and challenging him to fight nearly every time they had made eye contact.
Three days before the shooting, Cook summoned deputies to complain because the defendant had crossed his driveway without permission.
Tensions boiled over, Fulkerson said, when a drunken Cook came to his front door claiming the defendant had his property.
Fulkerson, who has a leg injury and uses a cane for support, said he told Cook to leave him alone, at which point the defendant’s girlfriend, Stacy Campeau, got involved, ”screaming and yelling” at Cook to get away from the residence.
Cook postured as if about to get physical with Campeau, Fulkerson told Cornett, prompting the defendant to pick up a sawed-off shotgun from his living room table and open fire on the victim from roughly three feet away.
”I just lost it. I just flipped, man,” Fulkerson says on the tape. ”I just grabbed the gun and shot the guy.”
After shooting Cook, the defendant struck him in the head with the butt- end of the compact rifle and told him to ”Just die, mother (expletive)!”, according to the prosecution.
Cook underwent surgery for a stomach wound and eventually made a full recovery.
According to court records, Fulkerson was convicted in 1991 in Ohio of voluntary manslaughter and served a 17-year prison sentence. He’s being held in lieu of $1.1 million bail at the Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta.