Verdict reached in shooting of local sports anchor Kyle Kraska

Posted at 4:45 PM, Jul 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-27 20:52:22-04

SAN DIEGO - A house painter was convicted of premeditated attempted murder Wednesday for ambushing and shooting a TV sportscaster who had hired him to work on his Scripps Ranch house.

Mike Montana, 55, shot Kyle Kraska, the sports director at CBS News 8, on Feb. 10, 2015.

Jurors deliberated a full day before finding Montana guilty of trying to kill Kraska. The defendant was also convicted of shooting at an occupied vehicle. He faces 38 years to life in prison when he is sentenced Aug. 24.

Deputy District Attorney Rebecca Zipp and Kraska left the courtroom immediately after the verdict and did not speak to reporters. Defense attorney Richard Jayakumar also declined to comment on the verdict.

Kraska hired Montana in October 2014 to paint the exterior of his home for $3,000. The victim said Montana walked off the job when Kraska refused to give him more money than the original $800 down payment. Kraska said he had agreed to pay Montana the remaining $2,200 when the job was complete.

In her closing argument, Zipp told the jury that Montana "mechanically tried to kill Kyle Kraska" as Kraska got in his car to leave for work about 3 p.m.

About a week before the shooting, Montana left a note under Kraska's doormat that read, "It's in your best interest to pay me the money that you owe me," according to the victim.

The day of the attack, Montana waited for Kraska to get in his Mercedes-Benz, then walked up to the car and shot out tires, fired into the engine, and shot Kraska at least three times, the prosecutor said.

"He (Montana) was so angry ... so focused on getting revenge on Kyle Kraska," Zipp told the jury.

Montana fired 11 shots in all, with 10 hitting the car, according to the prosecutor.

"The shooting was carried out in an orderly way," Zipp said. "He almost killed him."

Jayakumar told the jury that Montana was intoxicated that day from a barrage of prescription medications that he began taking after two back surgeries dating back to 2011.

The jury also convicted Montana of making criminal threats against two other people, including an employee at a Department of Motor Vehicles office.

Zipp said Montana went to the DMV office in Poway in 2014 and argued with the employee over a fee that he tried to get her to waive.

The defendant then tried to go to another window, but the employee told him he could not do that. Montana told the employee that he could do whatever he wanted and that he would go home and get a machine gun and blow everyone up, Zipp said.

Montana also left threatening voicemail messages at the San Diego Rowing Club in late 2012 after being asked him not to ride his Jet Ski through an annual regatta in Mission Bay.