A medical marijuana dealer was guilty of killing an Anza man whose body was found wrapped in a rug and tossed off a roadside, a defense attorney argued today.
Attorneys made their opening arguments today in the trial of Chris Darrel Duve, 31, of Lake Elsinore, and Angela May Shavers, 46, of Meadowbrook, who are charged with murdering Anza resident Paul "Pete" Cline on March 21, 2006.
His body was found north of Bautista Road near his home in the 36000 block of Old Cary Road in Anza east of Temecula.
Prosecution alleged the two were embezzling from Cline while living on an RV on his property.
The body was discovered severely decomposed with 10 stab wounds, according to Stephen Sweigart, Duve's attorney.
"When Mr. Cline's body, when it was found, was purple like a plum," he said, though forensic pathologists were still able to examine the stab wounds.
Neither Shaver nor Duve stabbed the victim, but a third man not involved in the trial named Vincent "Wolf" Valdez stabbed Cline.
Valdez, a Cahuilla Indian, allegedly supplied medical marijuana to Shavers. He was also using Cline's checkbook to write checks to himself, the defense attorney alleged.
"It wasn't Mr. Duve who was messing with Mr. Cline's account," he said. He projected images of several checks on a screen in the courtroom. The checks were Cline's and were written to Valdez. They amounted to more than $900 altogether and were cashed at the Cahuilla Casino.
Defendant's IQ is only 71
Duve was only a bystander in the crime, defense argued. Cline began to realize somebody was stealing from his bank account and confronted Shaver, Sweigart told a jury.
Then Valdez came up behind the victim and started stabbing him. "He stabs Pete Cline in the back, spins him around and stabs him in the front," Sweigart said.
The killer then turned to Shaver and Duve and said, "You stab him, or I'm going to kill you too," the attorney told the jury.
The three wrapped the body in a rug and tossed it off a road into some undergrowth.
The defendant has been in special education classes since middle school due to his low IQ of 71, the attorney said.
"The man sitting here is not a violent individual. He's meek and passive," Sweigart told the jury.
The rural writer
Paul "Pete" Cline was a father, brother, son and friend. He was also a good natured writer, said Blaine Hopp of the District Attorney's office.
"Paul Cline fancied himself a writer, a literary, rural superhero," he said. "He was kind, he was gentle, he was kind, he was trusting… a little too kind, a little too gentle, a little too trusting."
Duve and Shaver took advantage of Cline, working together to drain his bank account. "The defendants took advantage of Pete, took advantage of his generosity," he told the jury.
The evidence will not show who killed Cline, the prosecutor said, but it will show both Duve and Shaver are at fault.
"At the end of this trial, you won't know who struck the final death blow to the heart… but you will know each is responsible," he said.
CORRECTION: This article was modified at 7:58 a.m. Friday to more accurately reflect the location of Cahuilla Casino.