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McDonald Guilty of All Charges

Posted: January 24, 2008 6:12 a.m.
Updated: March 26, 2008 2:02 a.m.
 
Dwight McDonald, who was accused of trying to hit a jogger with his car and a wooden stick, was found guilty of all four charges Wednesday afternoon in a San Fernando courtroom.

A jury found the retired California Highway Patrol sergeant guilty of brandishing a stick, brandishing an automobile, reckless driving and assault with a deadly weapon (automobile).
The charges were filed in connection with an incident on March 8, 2007, in Valencia during which jogger Steven Gilbert alleged that McDonald tried to run him down, then later tried to strike him with a grape stake near the intersection of Hillsborough Parkway and Beaumont Street after a dispute over right-of-way.
The lively trial lasted almost two weeks, during which time both Gilbert and McDonald tried to paint each other as the aggressor in the incident.
Gilbert alleged that McDonald was an out-of-control driver who reacted out of all proportion to the fact that Gilbert was jogging in the right-hand turn lane while McDonald was trying to turn.
McDonald alleged that Gilbert was a "crazy" man whom he feared, because Gilbert kicked his car and may have possibly been armed.
Deputy District Attorney Heather Borden, who argued the case for the prosecution, declined to comment on the verdict but said that after it was read, Judge Meredith Taylor ordered McDonald not to come within 100 feet of Mr. Gilbert, or to have any type of contact with him.
Defense attorney Ross Stucker could not be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.
Borden added that Gilbert will likely give a victim impact statement during McDonald's sentencing hearing.
Closing arguments were made Tuesday.
During a closing statement that lasted more than an hour, Stucker asserted that the case was mishandled by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, with a bias against motorists in favor of pedestrians.
McDonald, who retired last year from a nearly 30-year career with the CHP, ran unsuccessfully for the Santa Clarita City Council in 2006.
He remains free on bail.
Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 11.
The assault charge carries a maximum sentence of four years, and the reckless driving charge has a statutory maximum of 90 days. The two brandishing charges carry a minimum sentence of 30 days each.


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