Prosecutor won't seek death penalty in Lemon Grove killing

EL CAJON - A man who allegedly ambushed a female acquaintance as she walked home from a Lemon Grove bar where they had spent the evening together will face life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted of her murder, a prosecutor told a judge today.
 
Casey Michael Tschida, 33, is charged in the Jan. 3, 2013, death of 30-year-old Jennifer Krajnak.
 
Prosecutor Gordon Davis told Judge Lantz Lewis that District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis decided against seeking the death penalty for Tschida, who faces a special circumstance allegation of lying in wait.
 
Trial is scheduled for Sept. 15.
 
At a hearing last year, Davis said the defendant and the victim were together for about three hours at Dirk's Niteclub on Broadway beginning around 10:30 p.m. on Jan. 2, 2013.
 
Tschida left the bar about 1:30 a.m., returned 15 minutes later with his car's headlights off and shot Krajnak in the head as she crossed the street toward her nearby apartment, the prosecutor alleged.
 
Krajnak died about 30 minutes later. No motive has been disclosed.
 
After the shooting, Tschida went home, where he collected rifles, camping equipment and his dog, then drove 20 hours to his mother's residence in Happy Valley, Ore., according to Davis.
 
Tschida's mother could tell something was amiss and asked her son what was wrong when he showed up unannounced the evening of Jan. 3, according to investigators.
 
"Do you really want to know?" Tschida asked his mother, according to sheriff's Detective Troy DuGal.
 
When she answered yes, Tschida replied. "I killed somebody," DuGal testified.
 
Video recovered in the area where Krajnak was shot shows someone confronting her, according to Detective Norman Hubbert.
 
Tschida left the bar at 1:30 a.m. and the victim left at 1:43 a.m., according to the surveillance video.
 
Krajnak's phone records showed she sent Tschida a text, asking if he wanted to "come over for a shot?" Hubbert testified.
 
Tschida answered, "Sure, I'll be over in a minute," the detective testified.
 
Tschida and Krajnak were only acquaintances and did not have a romantic relationship, according to sheriff's investigators.
 
A 9 mm handgun believed to have been used in the murder was recovered in Oregon after Tschida allegedly threw it out of his vehicle, Davis said.

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