Woman guilty in mur­der plan felled by ver­dict

San Francisco Chronicle - - BAY AREA & CALIFORNIA - By Teri Figueroa Teri Figueroa is a San Diego Union-Tribune writer.

SAN DIEGO — A Carls­bad woman and her Ocean­side gun in­struc­tor were found guilty Mon­day of con­spir­acy to com­mit mur­der in what au­thor­i­ties have said was a botched mur­der-forhire plot tar­get­ing her now-ex-hus­band, who was shot but sur­vived.

Diana Love­joy, 45, col­lapsed not long af­ter hear­ing she had been con­victed of the con­spir­acy charge as well as at­tempted mur­der. Many in the court­room gasped when she fell, and her fam­ily mem­bers started sob­bing and ask­ing some­one to help her.

Judge Sim von Kali­nowski cleared the court­room so Love­joy could re­ceive med­i­cal at­ten­tion.

Fox 5 re­porter Jamie Cham­bers — a life­guard and emer­gency med­i­cal tech­ni­cian — as­sisted Love­joy while she was on the floor un­til help could ar­rive. Cham­bers said Love­joy had passed out, but was con­scious when he even­tu­ally left her side. He said it ap­peared that she had been over­come by shock.

Af­ter paramedics took Love­joy to a hos­pi­tal — wheeled out on a gur­ney — court re­sumed. The same jury also found co-de­fen­dant Wel­don McDavid Jr., 50, guilty on all counts and al­le­ga­tions, in­clud­ing at­tempted mur­der. As his fam­ily watched, he closed his eyes, put his head in his hands and cried.

Love­joy faces at least 25 years to life in prison. McDavid, as the trig­ger­man, faces 50 to life. Sen­tenc­ing is set for Dec. 12.

Love­joy and Mul­vi­hill were two years into a heated di­vorce and fierce cus­tody bat­tle over their young son, a le­gal fight that in­cluded al­le­ga­tions of abuse and drug use. It was draw­ing to a close, with shared cus­tody and an agree­ment that Love­joy would pay Mul­vi­hill $120,000. That pay­ment was due weeks af­ter he was shot.

“She didn’t want to share cus­tody, and she didn’t want to give $120,000 to her hus­band,” jury fore­woman Erin Reed said.

There was no dis­pute that McDavid pulled the trig­ger and shot Greg Mul­vi­hill on a dark dirt path in Carls­bad on Sept. 1, 2016, at about 11 p.m.

The ques­tion was whether the ex­pert gun­man did it as a $2,000 hired hit­man, or whether he was sim­ply try­ing to shoot out the light in Mul­vi­hill’s left hand. The shot came af­ter Mul­vi­hill spot­ted McDavid, ly­ing on his stom­ach in the bushes, wear­ing cam­ou­flage and point­ing a long-bar­rel gun at him.

McDavid — a for­mer Ma­rine and School of In­fantry in­struc­tor — tes­ti­fied that it was the lat­ter, that had he in­tended to kill the man, he could have eas­ily done so. The bul­let missed the light in Mul­vi­hill’s out­stretched hand and in­stead struck him un­der his left armpit, and ex­ited out of his back. Love­joy did not tes­tify. Ju­rors, who de­lib­er­ated about half a day be­fore reach­ing their ver­dicts, didn’t buy McDavid’s tes­ti­mony.

“We re­jected his story pretty much off the bat,” said a 63-year-old male ju­ror who de­clined to give his name. “He was ly­ing. It was get­ting ab­surd at times.”

Love­joy’s col­lapse threw some of the ju­rors. Fore­woman Reed said that it was “hard when we watched her faint. But that didn’t change any of our ver­dicts.”

Don Boomer / TNS

Diana Love­joy col­lapsed in a Vista court­room Mon­day af­ter hear­ing she had been con­victed of con­spir­acy to com­mit mur­der and at­tempted mur­der.

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