El Cajon house painter faces 25 to 38 years in state prison for pre-meditated attempted murder of local sportscaster

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A jury convicted an El Cajon house painter July 27 of pre-meditated attempted murder of CBS Sports Director Kyle Kraska and making two death threats to two others.

Mike Montana, 55, showed little reaction in San Diego Superior Court. The eight men, four-woman jury deliberated 5.5 hours before reaching verdicts.

A jury convicted an El Cajon house painter July 27 of pre-meditated attempted murder of CBS Sports Director Kyle Kraska and making two death threats to two others.

Mike Montana, 55, showed little reaction in San Diego Superior Court. The eight men, four-woman jury deliberated 5.5 hours before reaching verdicts.

Kraska, who was shot six times in his Mercedes on Feb. 10, 2015, was in the courtroom audience and put his head in his hands. Kraska has worked for KFMB-TV (Channel 8) since 1999. 

The jury also convicted Montana of firing into an occupied vehicle and making a death threat to a worker at the Department of Motor Vehicles in 2014. They also convicted Montana of making a death threat to the manager of the San Diego Rowing Club who lives in East County.

Montana faces a sentence of 25 years just for the gun use in a crime. The maximum sentence he faces is 38 years to life.

Montana could also receive eight years consecutively for the death threats made against Robert Hibler, the manager of the San Diego Rowing Club, and the DMV employee. 

Judge Michael Smyth set sentencing for Aug. 24. Montana remains in jail without bail.

Hibler testified as the trial’s first witness on July 11 about Montana driving his jet ski very fast in Mission Bay, causing a woman to fall over in a boat in 2012. Hibler asked Montana not to drive so fast. Afterwards, Montana made a series of threatening phone calls that were recorded and played to the jury.

In the recordings, Montana said he was getting a gun, was mentally unstable, and on medication. He talked about shooting people in the head.

Deputy District Attorney Rebecca Zipp presented Hibler and the graphic tape recordings by Montana on the first day of trial to show Montana’s intent. Since Montana didn’t testify, what he said on the tapes were the only words the jury heard him say.

His attorney, Richard Jayakumar, argued he didn’t have the intent to commit pre-meditated attempted murder because he was on too much medication. He also said Montana was firing shots at the car, not Kraska.

Kraska testified he was told he died twice on the operating table. He was in a coma for six days and had five operations. He returned to work about four weeks later.

Kraska hired Montana to paint his house in Scripps Ranch and paid him $800 up front for expenses. Montana asked for more money after doing about 25% of the project, and Kraska asked him to produce receipts that showed he spent all $800 on supplies.

Montana then quit, but two months later began demanding the full payment of $2,200 be mailed to a Lakeside post office box. Kraska testified Montana shouted at him that he should have paid the money just before he started shooting.

Santee vandal sentenced

Kenneth Jerome Ryan, Jr., 29, has been sentenced to 16 months in state prison for vandalizing the home of a Santee woman when he broke inside on March 26.

Santee and Lakeside deputies evacuated the woman called 911 after the break-in and neighbors. Ryan pleaded guilty to committing vandalism before El Cajon Superior Court Judge John Thompson, who dismissed false imprisonment, inflicting corporal injury to another, and resisting arrest.

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