Emotions ran high Friday in a Fresno courtroom, where a Fresno man is accused of fatally shooting an unarmed man in front of the victim’s family a year ago.
James Ryan Dean, 26, is on trial in Fresno Superior Court, accused of murdering 43-year-old Augustine Velasco Jr. during the early evening hours of July 8, 2017 in central Fresno.
If convicted of murder, he faces at least 40 years to life in prison.
Police say Dean, the boyfriend of Velasco’s ex-wife, got into an argument with Velasco before shooting him once in the stomach.
Defense attorney Kojo Moore says in court papers that Dean shot Velasco because Velasco had taken off his T-shirt and was about to attack Dean.
On Friday, Velasco’s daughter, Alyssa Velasco, cried on the witness stand as she recalled the tragic details that led to her father’s death.
Velasco testified that she, her boyfriend and her father drove to her brother’s apartment in the 1200 block of East Vassar Avenue to pick up her daughter, Ava. But when she got there, her mother, Diana Pasillas, wouldn’t turn over Ava to her.
Velasco said she returned to the car crying, causing her father to confront his ex-wife. While her father and mother argued, Dean got involved.
Velaco testified that Dean called her a name, causing her father to get more upset. “I tried to pull my dad back,” she told the jury, “but he and Jimmy kept arguing.”
Velasco testified her father wanted to fight Dean. But instead of fighting, she said, Dean pulled out a gun and shot her father.
Velasco testified that she ran to her father, who had stumbled to the ground. She said she held his head and heard him say, “I am going to die.”
After the shooting, Dean left the crime scene. Police arrested him later without incident near Olive Avenue and Parkway Drive.
Dean’s trial in Judge James Petrucelli’s courtroom is expected to conclude next week.