Judge moves Grass Valley double homicide case closer to trial
Michael Pocock shot David Dominguez at least three times, Nevada County Assistant District Attorney Chris Walsh said.
“Then he chased down Rabecca Mershon and shot her in the back, six times,” Walsh said. “If that’s not a deliberate decision to kill someone, then I don’t know what is.”
Superior Court Judge B. Scott Thomsen found enough evidence after a preliminary hearing to hold Pocock on two counts of murder. Pocock, 36, will return to court Dec. 13 for formal arraignment.
During a day-long evidentiary hearing Tuesday, a forensic pathologist testified that both Mershon, 25, of Grass Valley, and Dominguez, 39, of Loomis, were killed by multiple gunshot wounds on May 20. Dominguez sustained three gunshots to the head and neck and was found outside. Mershon was shot in the head, chest, arm, shoulder and hand, and was found face-down inside the basement where the couple was “camping out.”
Both Mershon and Dominguez had methamphetamine in their systems, she said.
The landlord of the property in the 500 block of Glenwood Road, Scott Ingram, testified that he had been renting a small house on the property to Pocock and was allowing Mershon and Dominguez to stay in the basement of a different home temporarily while they earned some money.
That night, Ingram said, he heard gunshots and went outside.
Pocock was walking toward him and told him he shot somebody. The two men went inside Ingram’s house and Pocock put his gun on a desk, Ingram said.
According to Ingram, he went back outside and saw Dominguez and Mershon, adding that Dominguez was clearly dead. He did not attempt first aid on Mershon, but instead called 911.
Ingram said earlier that day Dominguez was showing them several “throwing” knives he carried in a “bra strap” across his chest.
“He was trying to impress us,” Ingram said.
There was nothing threatening or hostile about the conversation, he said, adding that Pocock ended up buying a lock pick kit from Dominguez.
Ingram also testified to an incident several years prior when Pocock held a gun to the head of a very drunken man during an argument. Ingram said the other man had been “out of control” and tried to harm Pocock’s mother.
During an interview, Pocock said he shot Dominguez and Mershon in self-defense, District Attorney’s Investigator Dominic La Fountain said.
“He was in fear,” La Fountain said.
Pocock said Dominguez and Mershon had become agitated when he refused to give them blankets and marijuana and that Mershon was “egging” Dominguez on. He said he saw Dominguez reach for his pocket and believed he had a handgun.
“He saw what he thought was the handle of a revolver,” La Fountain said.
“I just reacted, I shot first,” Pocock said in a transcript of the recorded interview, a portion of which was read by Deputy Public Defender Tamara Zuromskis.
Pocock told La Fountain that after he shot Dominguez, Mershon started screaming. He fired one shot and then followed her as she ran into the basement, continuing to shoot. Pocock admitted he dropped a gun on Dominguez’s body after Ingram told him, “They better have a gun,” the investigator said.
Under cross-examination by Zuromskis, La Fountain testified that Pocock expressed remorse, saying he would regret the shooting for the rest of his life and wished he could “jump into a DeLorean and go back and fix this.”
Zuromskis argued the judge should not hold Pocock on first-degree murder charges.
“There’s not a scintilla of evidence to suggest premeditation,” she said. “A lot of the evidence suggests quite the opposite … This is second-degree murder, at best.”
A considered decision to kill someone can be made quickly, Walsh countered, adding Pocock killed knowing the consequences and acted with a deliberate intent to kill, given the number of shots and the location of the two victims.
Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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