Jury sworn for trial of man accused of trying to kill neighbor

MURRIETA – A jury was seated today for the trial of a Wildomar man accused of shooting at his neighbor during a dispute and later stabbing the victim multiple times in a roadside confrontation.

Richard Terry Mount, 56, is charged with two counts of attempted murder and one count each of assault with a machine gun, shooting at an occupied vehicle, exhibiting a firearm at law enforcement officers, possession of an assault rifle and deliberately violating a criminal protective order.

The felony counts stem from two separate attacks on Balvinder Dhaliwal and carry a cumulative sentence of more than 25 years in prison if Mount is convicted.

Riverside County Superior Court Judge Michael Rushton scheduled opening arguments in the case for Monday.

Prosecutors allege that Mount became romantically involved with Dhaliwal’s wife, Laura, in the fall of 2012, culminating in the woman staying at the defendant’s Cottonwood Canyon Road property.

Matters came to a head on Dec. 4, 2012, when Dhaliwal returned home to find his teenage son alone, even though the youth was under a juvenile court order to be under parental supervision during the overnight hours, according to a trial brief filed by Deputy District Attorney Sean Oswill.

He said that Dhaliwal realized his wife was with Mount and tried calling the defendant’s home several times, eliciting only a few unintelligible grunts from Mount over the telephone.

Dhaliwal, a municipal bus driver, had to be at work by 2:30 a.m. and did not want to leave his son at the house unsupervised. He drove the boy over to Mount’s home, where he honked his pickup truck horn repeatedly to get his wife’s attention, according to Oswill.

Mount allegedly walked onto his front porch and fired three AK-47 rounds at Dhaliwal.

”The rounds from the rifle landed within just a few feet of the driver’s side door of the victim’s truck,” Oswill wrote.

Deputies were called to the location and set up a perimeter, directing Mount to come out of his house and surrender.

After a nearly hourlong standoff, Mount walked onto his back porch, where he allegedly raised his rifle in the direction of two deputies, both of whom opened fire, striking him in the legs and hand.

The defendant was treated for non-life-threatening wounds and jailed but posted bond a week later. As one of the conditions of his release, Mount promised the court that he would have no contact with Dhaliwal. But according to Oswill, on June 21, 2013, the defendant and victim met each other coming in opposite directions on Cottonwood Canyon.

Oswill alleged that Mount pulled directly in Dhaliwal’s path, forcing the victim to slam on his brakes. The two men got out of their respective vehicles and a verbal altercation ensued, according the prosecution.

”The defendant pulled out a knife and stabbed Dhaliwal nine times in the arm, chest, abdomen and head,” the trial brief alleges.

Mount fled the scene, leaving the victim bleeding and barely conscious. According to Oswill, Dhaliwal managed to dial 911 and give his location before passing out. When a deputy arrived, the victim identified Mount as his alleged attacker.

The defendant surrendered to law enforcement the following day. He’s being held in lieu of $1 million bail at the Murrieta jail.

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