A Kerman man charged with shooting at motorists in west Fresno County last year was found guilty of all charges Friday in Fresno Superior Court.
Jorge Javier Gracia was convicted of 19 felony charges related to six shootings – five in Fresno County and one in Madera County – between late November and mid-December. Most happened along Highway 145 near Kerman.
Vehicles were struck by gunfire, but no one was injured.
Still, victims were “traumatized” by the experience, said prosecutor Katherine Plante. In one case, bullets came mere feet from a child strapped into a car seat.
“He was terrorizing our community,” Plante said of Gracia. “People have the right to drive in their cars without being afraid of being shot, and he took that right away from us for a period of time.”
Gracia will be sentenced Nov. 5.
“He’s facing a maximum of life in prison,” Plante said, “and that is absolutely what my office is going to be asking for.”
Plante said Gracia was likely responsible for more shootings.
“We charged everything we could,” she said, “everything we had the evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Gracia was found guilty of charges including assault with a semi-automatic firearm, shooting at an occupied vehicle, brandishing a weapon at a person in a vehicle, possession of a firearm by a felon, possession of ammunition by a felon, and possession of a controlled substance with a firearm.
Gracia has previous convictions for rape in 1997, and assault with the intent to commit rape in 1999.
The defense had argued Gracia was the victim of mistaken identity. Plante said the evidence showed otherwise.
She said key testimony in the trial included law enforcement matching bullets that struck vehicles to those from Gracia’s gun, and said that cell phone records put Gracia in the area where the shootings occurred. There was also “gunshot residue all over his car,” and a photo of the gun used in the shooting on Gracia’s phone, Plante said.