Trial begins for park shooting suspect

Opening statements began Monday in the trial of a Huntington Beach man who is accused of shooting and killing another man at a city park, according to the Orange County district attorney's office.

Derek Christopher Adams, 23, is accused of shooting Gregory Heintz at Murdy Park in Huntington Beach on Oct. 22, 2010, while the victim was there with friends to retrieve a cell phone Adams had allegedly stolen.

On that day, Adams is accused of going to the home of Cody Masher in Newport Beach at about 11 a.m. along with his co-defendant and friend Marissa Star Bilotti, 21, breaking down the door and confronting Masher and his girlfriend, according to prosecutors.

Masher, a parolee, was reportedly dating the woman Adams was romantically interested in.

Adams and Bilotti allegedly argued with Masher and his girlfriend, then stole money and Masher's cell phone, prosecutors said.

Before leaving, Adams is accused of grabbing a knife from the kitchen, punching and hitting Masher, then stabbing him, causing a non-life threatening injury, prosecutors said.

Adams later used the cell phone several times to send text messages to Masher's girlfriend before arranging to meet her at the park to return the phone, prosecutors said.

Both Adams and Bilotti waited for Masher's girlfriend, who arrived there with Heintz, a Garden Grove resident, and other friends at about 3:30 p.m.

Adams allegedly shot Heintz in the stomach after throwing him the phone, prosecutors said.

Adams and Bilotti, who waited in the car with a knife, uncovered the car's license plate number they had concealed after leaving the scene, prosecutors said.

Witnesses took down the license plate number and reported what they saw to the Huntington Beach Police Department, which located the car, resulting in the arrest of Adams and Bilotti.

Heintz was taken to a hospital, where he died shortly after arriving, prosecutors said.

Adams is charged with murder, first-degree robbery, first-degree residential burglary and aggravated assault with sentencing enhancements for the personal use and discharge of a firearm causing injury and death, according to prosecutors. He faces a maximum sentence of 59 years and four months to life in state prison if convicted.

Bilotti, also a Huntington Beach resident, is charged with murder, aggravated assault and first-degree residential burglary with a sentencing enhancement for knowingly arming herself with a gun. She faces a maximum of 35 years and four months to life in state prison if convicted. Her pre-trial is scheduled for Sept. 21.

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