Kraska testified for 4 ½ hours Tuesday in the attempted murder trial of Mike Montana, 55, of El Cajon, who is also accused of making death threats to the manager of the San Diego Rowing Club and to a worker at the Department of Motor Vehicles.
“You should have paid me my $2,200,” Montana was quoted as telling Kraska before he began shooting at Kraska’s Mercedes on Feb. 10, 2015, at his Scripps Ranch home.
“He had a very stern look on his face … The look on his face – he was doing something incredibly deliberate,” said Kraska.
Kraska told the eight man, four woman jury and San Diego Superior Court Judge Michael Smyth that Montana blocked his vehicle with his white van labeled Superior Painting at 3 p.m. “He had me boxed in. I had nowhere to go,” he said.
Kraska testified he paid $800 up front and he agreed to pay $2,200 more when the two-week job was finished in a written contract between him and Montana. He said Montana kept asking him for more money and finally quit, saying he was broke and needed to get another painting job elsewhere.
Kraska said he was surprised when Montana started to work and did not have enough equipment or drop cloths. He said the grass died in his backyard where Montana had left some equipment. He said Montana often did not show up for work. He said Montana quit after completing about 25 percent of the project.
The 17-year veteran sportscaster said he heard nothing from Montana for about three months and then discovered a money demand letter from him on his front door. He received a threatening phone call after that.
Kraska testified he was told he died twice on the operating table at Scripps La Jolla Hospital and was in a coma for six days after the shooting. “My liver was badly damaged by a bullet,” he said.
Montana’s attorney, Richard Jayakumar, told jurors on Monday that his client fired shots at Kraska’s 2003 Mercedes XL to inflict $2,200 damages to reflect his losses, but did not intend to shoot or kill the sportscaster.
Jayakumar asked Kraska if the vehicle was “a beautiful car,” and Kraska replied, “It used to be.”
Montana has pleaded not guilty. If he’s convicted of all counts, he faces a prison term of 38 years to life. He remains in jail on $750,000 bail.