FRESNO, Calif. – A Tacoma man accused of running down a Pacific Gas & Electric worker in this central California city has been ordered to stand trial for attempted murder, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon and one count of battery.
A two-day preliminary hearing for Jett McBride, 54, ended Friday
A PG&E employee testified that fellow employees, not hitchhiker Caleb “Kai” McGillivary and his hatchet, that kept McBride from further hurting their co-worker, Rayshawn Neely.
Kenneth Simon testified he was inches from Neely when McBride’s car struck both of them. He said they had no time to move as the car bore down on them as they were facing away. He pointed to McBride in court as the driver and estimated his speed as 20 to 25 mph.
He said the driver showed no intention of stopping and made no effort to veer.
He said he was thrown 10 or 15 feet and Neely was pinned with his legs wedged under a utility truck and on top of the car.
McBride climbed out of the car, walked up to Neely and asked him about Jesus Christ, Simon said. He said he never heard McBride utter racial slurs to Neely, who is black. Others testified Thursday they heard McBride using racial epithets.
Then, McBride said to Neely, “I am Jesus and I am here to take you home,” Simon said.
McBride bent over Neely as a group of PG&E workers told him to get away.
McGillivary came out of the passenger side of McBride’s car and hit McBride over the head three or four times with a hatchet, sending him to the ground, he said.
Simon said he and his fellow workers did not know why McGillivary started striking his companion, so they told him to leave. McGillivary took off running.
Prosecutor Sam Dalesandro said McBride intentionally targeted Neely for death. By saying he was Jesus Christ and coming to take him home, McBride issued “a clear indication (Neely) was going to die.”
McBride’s lawyer, Deborah Girard, said her client asked Neely whether he believed in Jesus Christ. Such a question “does not indicate an intent to kill,” she said.
Outside the courtroom, she said McBride was “mortified” by what happened and “is very concerned about Mr. Neely.”
She theorizes that something else happened in the car that only McBride and McGillivary know about.
“He told detectives that Kai grabbed his arm or the steering wheel,” she said. “This was not an intentional act and it was not motivated by race.”