Jury selection is slated to begin today for the trial of Turlock resident Robin Boyer, who stands accused of fatally shooting a man suspected of stealing from his property.
Boyer, 62, is charged with murder and two felony counts of assault with a firearm for the death of 25-year-old Brandon Pacheco on July 23, 2013.
Pacheco was shot in the back of his head with shotgun pellets and died at the scene of the shooting.
Boyer’s defense attorney, Kirk McAllister, argued during a preliminary hearing in 2016 that Boyer never had any intention of killing Pacheco and that his death was a tragic accident that was put into motion by Pacheco’s attempts to steal items off of Boyer’s property in the 1100 block of Dianne Drive.
The prosecution contends that Boyer’s actions during his encounter with Pacheco went beyond the scope of defending his property and that he acted with a disregard for human life.
During the course of the investigation Boyer told Turlock Police detectives he had been experiencing thefts on his property and on that day he witnessed a man, later identified as Pacheco, take items and load them into a wagon. Boyer told the investigators he went back into his home and retrieved his shotgun and his cell phone.
Boyer confronted Pacheco on a dirt berm that was one house away from Boyer’s and adjacent to a sweet potato field. The house in between Boyer’s and the dirt berm belongs to his mother.
During the preliminary hearing investigators testified that Boyer told them he confronted Pacheco on the berm by first racking the shotgun and ordering him onto the ground. Boyer said Pacheco said “I’m not thieving” and got on his motorbike, which was facing Boyer. Pacheco started the motorbike up and started moving forward, which is when Boyer fired for the first time. Boyer told the investigators he aimed the blast about five yards in front of the motorbike’s front tire.
Boyer told the investigators Pacheco stood up and turned the motorbike around so that he was now facing away from him. Boyer told the detectives that he wanted to “scare the hell out of the man” so he fired the second shot, which struck Pacheco and ultimately proved fatal.
Pacheco did not use his cell phone to call emergency responders, but instead went back to his property where he told family members what had happened and they called 911.
The prosecution and the defense agreed that potential jurors could be asked about if they have ever been a victim of theft or been accused of theft and if they have lived in a rural area for any period of time. The court also decided that the potential jurors could be questioned on their stance about guns and gun ownership and if they belong to any groups that are pro or anti gun ownership.
Testimony is expected to begin Friday in Stanislaus County Superior Court. The trial is estimated to last one to two weeks.
Boyer has been in custody at the Stanislaus County Jail since his arrest in March 2015.