MARTINEZ — A prosecutor told jurors Thursday that a 26-year-old Antioch man committed murder in 2008 when he fatally shot a fellow methamphetamine user after arguing in a car over where their driver was taking them next.
After Julian David Stringer killed 30-year-old Brentwood resident Ralph Morales on June 16, 2008 and then fled to Reno, where he was captured by police a month later, deputy District Attorney Dominique Yancey said in her opening statement at Stringer’s murder trial.
An attorney for Stringer countered that the two men had no animosity between them and the shooting was accidental. Deputy public defender Laurie Mont told the jury she will ask for a voluntary manslaughter verdict at the end of the three-week trial.
Stringer and Morales, using a driver they paid in methamphetamine, went to several residences in Antioch that night to smoke and buy the drug. As they exited the last house, Stringer became paranoid that he was going to get robbed, and so he cocked a gun he was carrying in a front pocket of his oversized shorts, Mont said.
Back in the car, stopped at G and West 17th streets in Antioch, Stringer tried to disengage the gun’s hammer from inside his pocket and the weapon fired, Mont said. The bullet traveled through Morales’ car seat and into his back.
The attorney agreed that Morales shot Stringer in the leg as Stringer was running from the vehicle, before Morales died from his wound at a local hospital.
“Pretty much everything (Stringer) did after (the shooting) was stupid,” Mont said. “On the advice of a cousin, he tossed the shorts — the one thing that could have helped him.
“All of this was stupidity, idiocy. It makes him look bad but it does not mean he killed Ralph Morales on purpose,” Mont said.
Stringer was on parole from a burglary conviction when Morales was killed. In addition to his murder case, he is charged in Contra Costa County with kidnapping, carjacking, burglary and robbery in connection with an April 17, 2008 incident, court records show.