Trial begins for alleged drive-by shooter

By: Eric Laughlin, The Press Tribune
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A jury began hearing testimony this week in the case of the Granite Bay man charged with attempted murder for a November 2008 drive-by shooting that left a 16-year-old boy wounded. Justin M. Wittkop, 19, is suspected of firing shots at the boy following an argument at a Roseville McDonald’s restaurant. According to prosecutors, Wittkop was driving a gray Cadillac westbound on Sierra College Boulevard just west of Douglas Boulevard, when he reached over his girlfriend and shot the boy as he walked down the sidewalk. The unnamed victim did not sustain life threatening wounds and was treated and released by Sutter Roseville Hospital. Wittkop and girlfriend Kelsey Brace, then 17, were both arrested on suspicion of attempted murder the day of the shooting, but last summer Brace cut a plea deal with prosecutors that will likely result in her testifying against Wittkop in exchange for three years behind bars. Wittkop sat next to his attorney Thursday as the prosecution called a series of witnesses, one of whom included the woman driving behind the suspect vehicle when the shots rang out. Kim Trotter said she had just left work and was driving behind a gray Cadillac when she saw it slow and a woman’s arm come out the passenger side window. She then heard three shots fired and noticed a black juvenile fall to the ground nearby. Though Trotter has testified that she believed the woman in the vehicle fired the shots, prosecutor Garen Horst will present a case that suggests it was actually Wittkop. Horst is expected to call the victim and another witness who dove out of the way when he saw a gun come out the passenger window. Girlfriend Brace is also expected to say it was Wittkop who pulled the trigger. The trial is expected to continue into next week. Wittkop has been jailed without bail since his arrest.