Pine Valley man convicted in the murder of Jacumba pastor

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After deliberating only 40 minutes, a jury on June 21 convicted a Pine Valley man of first-degree murder in the shooting death of Pastor Craig Hodson of the Grace Baptist Church in Jacumba regarding an eviction notice.

The seven woman, five man jury also concluded that Paul David Carr, 61, personally used a firearm that caused the death of Hodson, 55, who was shot twice in his garage on Oct. 16, 2016 on his property at 36536 Old Highway 80 in Pine Valley.

After deliberating only 40 minutes, a jury on June 21 convicted a Pine Valley man of first-degree murder in the shooting death of Pastor Craig Hodson of the Grace Baptist Church in Jacumba regarding an eviction notice.

The seven woman, five man jury also concluded that Paul David Carr, 61, personally used a firearm that caused the death of Hodson, 55, who was shot twice in his garage on Oct. 16, 2016 on his property at 36536 Old Highway 80 in Pine Valley.

Carr rented a cabin from Hodson, but was given a 60-day eviction notice on Oct. 5, 2016. A move out sheet was placed on his door Oct. 16 and Carr angrily went to confront Hodson while armed.

Deputy District Attorney Jeff Lazar said Carr faces a prison sentence of 25 years to life for the murder plus 25 years for the use of a firearm in a homicide.

El Cajon Superior Court Judge John Thompson set sentencing for Aug. 21. Carr remains in jail without bail.

Many of the pastor’s family were present to hear the verdict. Carr had clashed with Maria Hodson, the pastor’s wife, and he had sent rude, demeaning text messages to her husband, she said.

Hodson was a pastor in Jacumba for 10 years. He and his wife had 11 children, many of whom are now adults.

Carr testified on June 20 and said his motion detector signaled him there was movement at his door when the move out sheet was placed there. He said he put a gun in his sweatpants and went to talk to Hodson, who was cleaning out his garage around 7:20 p.m.

Carr claimed the pastor pulled out a 9-foot pole saw in the garage, apparently when he saw Carr with a gun. Carr’s attorney, Taylor Gaines, argued the shooting may have been done in self-defense. He asked for an acquittal and referred to the tool as a “9-foot chainsaw.”  The handle was 8-feet long.

The jury also had the option of convicting Carr of second-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter. Lazar had asked jurors to convict him of first-degree murder.

It is likely that Carr will be sent to a prison that has a medical facility and he may never be released.

Maria Hodson testified that Carr told her to “go to hell” when he was picking up some firewood on the property. Carr cursed at the pastor’s wife and she avoided talking to him.

“My father was really trying…to keep the peace,” said Christian Hodson. “He was always trying to keep things calm, talk things out.”

Carr fired four shots, but two hit objects in the garage. A bullet struck Hodson in the shoulder and traveled to his aorta. Another shot struck him in the back. The prosecution presented 18 witnesses in the trial that began June 12 with testimony.

Preliminary hearing set for Lemon Grove homicide

An August 31 preliminary hearing has been set for a man charged this month with a homicide in Lemon Grove 31 years ago.

Cyrus Jefferson, 20, was found stabbed to death on Oct. 11, 1986 in a field in the 2500 block of 69th Street in Lemon Grove. Stacy Littleton, now 52, was arrested June 12 after new advances in DNA evidence were analyzed by the sheriff’s department.

Littleton had been a suspect at the time and was initially arrested, but then released. Evidence preserved in the case was re-evaluated with a DNA match to Littleton, according to the sheriff’s department.

Littleton pleaded not guilty before El Cajon Superior Court Judge Daniel Goldstein. He agreed to the Aug. 31 preliminary hearing date on June 21 and remains in jail on $1 million bail.

Trial date set for El Cajon man charged with attempted murder

A July 24 trial date has been set for an El Cajon man who is charged with attempted murder of his sister’s boyfriend in a May 18 shooting incident.

Joseph William Bollacker, 25, was ordered to stand trial during a June 5 preliminary hearing by El Cajon Superior Court Judge John Thompson.

El Cajon Police received numerous calls of a shooting at 633 S. Johnson Avenue. Bollacker lived at the apartment with his sister. Three gunshots were fired in the direction of the victim who fled and was not injured. Two parked cars in a parking lot were struck.

Bollacker is charged with premeditated attempted murder and could face a life term in prison if he is convicted. He has pleaded not guilty and remains in the Vista Detention Facility on $1.5 million bail.

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