Jury selection began Tuesday for the trial of an ex-con accused of blasting his Lake Elsinore neighbor with a sawed-off shotgun in a dispute over some property.
Kevin Ronald Fulkerson, 52, could face more than 25 years behind bars if convicted of the near-deadly attack on 59-year-old Steven Cook.
Fulkerson is charged with attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, as well as sentence-enhancing gun and great bodily injury allegations. He’s being held in lieu of $1.1 million bail at the Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta.
Riverside County Superior Court Judge Ronald Taylor summoned more than 100 prospective jurors to the Riverside Hall of Justice this morning for screening as to their qualifications and availability. Opening statements are expected today, with testimony likely to conclude before the end of the week.
Sheriff’s investigators allege Fulkerson shot Cook in the stomach on the afternoon of April 9.
The two men lived adjacent to one another in a duplex in the 18100 block of Grand Avenue, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
During an April 24 preliminary hearing, witnesses testified that the defendant and victim had been at odds over the return of items belonging to Cook, leading to a heated argument on Fulkerson’s doorstep.
The defendant’s girlfriend, whose name was withheld, apparently inserted herself into the exchange, further inflaming the victim, who began walking toward the woman, prompting Fulkerson to grab his sawed-off, 12-gauge shotgun from a living room table and blast Cook, who collapsed, according to prosecutors.
The defendant then struck the victim on the head with the butt of the gun as the wounded man lay helpless on the ground, prosecutors allege.
Neighbors called 911, and deputies arrived moments later, locating Cook on the ground, “delirious and muttering ‘Kevin, Kevin”’ according to a trial brief filed by Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Strona.
She said detectives detained and questioned Fulkerson, who “admitted to shooting (and) hitting Steven.”
“Defendant stated he told Steven to ‘Just die, (expletive). Just (expletive) die!”’ Strona wrote.
Cook was taken to a Wildomar hospital, where he underwent surgery and eventually made a full recovery.
Fulkerson was arrested without incident. According to court records, in 1991, he was convicted in Ohio of voluntary manslaughter and served a 17-year prison sentence.