Defense Calls Shootings at Party an Accident

The attorney for an El Cajon man charged with murder and attempted murder in shootings at a party told jurors Wednesday that two guests were shot accidently when his client fired warning shots.

Attorney Jan Ronis, who represents Nadir Mikhail, 20, said in his opening statement that Mikhail had been asked to disperse an unruly crowd of party crashers.

Mikhail is charged with killing Robbie Loftis, 19, of Lemon Grove, and with the attempted murder of and assault on Charles Hall, 19, of Spring Valley, at the party held at a home in the 11300 block of Explorer Road near La Mesa on Jan. 26.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Gordon Davis said someone paged Mikhail on his beeper and "asked (him) to come to the party and get rid of people" who were there uninvited.

Ronis said party guests will testify that 10 to 25 uninvited people attended what was supposed to be a private party at the home of Steve Shamoun, 19, and Cindy Shamoun, 17. Ronis said Mikhail was acquainted with Cindy Shamoun.

The teen-agers' parents, Nidal and Sami Shamoun, were out of town at the time. They have since been sued for damages by Loftis' family. Both attorneys agreed that Loftis was uninvolved in any dispute that night.

The party crashers "were very unruly. There was a food fight in the Shamoun kitchen. There was some drug use being displayed by (these) uninvited males," said Ronis.

Ronis said Hall was drunk, and he led an angry group of party guests to the top of the driveway towards Mikhail, after he tried to disperse them.

"The scene is getting uglier and uglier," said Ronis.

Mikhail drew his gun but pointed it down, but it had no effect on the group of men coming towards him, said his attorney.

"In an obvious move to scare the group away, he fires a warning shot," said Ronis. The bullet hit Loftis, who was standing nearby, in the head.

More shots were fired, and Hall was hit. Mikhail then left in a car without realizing anyone was shot, said Ronis.

The defense attorney added that, when Hall was treated at a hospital for gunshot wounds to his arm and leg, a doctor reported that Hall was so drunk he could not give consent to treatment.

Mikhail remains in County Jail in lieu of $5-million bail.

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