Frederick Dallas Gill barely got to the door before a gunman wearing a hoodie and with a bandanna across the face hit him in the head with his pistol.
“Where’s the money?” the intruder demanded.
Gill didn’t know it yet, but a 7-month-old boy already had been fatally shot in his driveway. In a few minutes, his friend who was the child’s father would be shot to death in Gill’s living room.
On Tuesday, Gill recounted for a Sacramento Superior Court jury the Sept. 14, 2007, day when Sean Aquitania Sr., 21, and his infant child, Sean Aquitania Jr., were gunned down.
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Authorities last week arrested Gill on a material-witness warrant out of Mexico to ensure his appearance in the murder trial of Donald Ortez-Lucero, 29, and Christopher Nicholas Strong, 30, the two men accused in the Aquitania killings.
Under questioning from Deputy District Attorney Eric Kindall, Gill gave a second-by-second account of the shooting that broke just moments after Aquitania drove up to his house on Country Greens Court in the unincorporated south area. Gill, who had recently had his probation revoked on a drug conviction, said he was about to to go jail for a few months, and that Aquitania came over with his son to say goodbye.
Aquitania drove up the same time as the alleged drug robbers arrived at Gill’s doorstep. Authorities say one of them first pistol-whipped Aquitania inside his gray Chevrolet Impala in Gill’s driveway and that a bullet discharged during the beating from the gunman’s .40-caliber semi-automatic handgun. A coroner’s autopsy showed that a bullet struck the baby, who was sitting in his car seat facing backward, in the top of his head and exited to the right of the bridge of his nose. Sean Jr. was transported to UC Davis Medical Center, where he died.
Gill testified that he was concluding a $3,000 deal involving cocaine and psilocybin mushrooms with a friend when the gunmen walked up with Aquitania.
“Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Gill said he told the intruders after they demanded the cash. “You got the wrong dude.”
He testified he actually had $10,000 stashed in the house. He said they hit him again and laid everybody out on the floor, including Aquitania and another friend who had been sleeping on the couch in the front room.
“Then my boy Sean was saying, ‘My son is in the car, let me go,’ ” Gill testified.
The gunmen let Aquitania leave and slammed the door shut behind him. A few seconds later, Aquitania returned – enraged. He kicked the door off its hinges and attacked the gunmen, Gill testified.
Aquitania, a former boxer, floored them both, Gill told the jury. Gill said he thought the friend with whom he had done the cocaine-mushroom deal with was still in his back bedroom.
“Grab my pistol, shoot these fools!” he said he shouted, but his friend had already jumped out a back window, authorities said.
It was then that one of the two intruders got off the ground and “pointed a pistol right at me,” Gill testified. “I ran out the front door.”
Gill said he ran to a neighbor’s house to cut off the zip ties the gunmen had fastened to his wrists. He said he and his friend gingerly returned to the house and found Aquitania’s body.
They threw the $3,000 cash, a stolen gun and the magic mushrooms into a trash bag, Gill testified, and he gave the keys to his Lexus to his friend and told him to get the stuff out of there. He said he then went to attend to the baby, saw Sean Jr. had been gravely wounded and was able to rush the boy to a passing school bus driver who called 911.
Defense attorney Charles Bourdon, who is representing Ortez-Lucero, who has been named as the gunman in the killings, got about 30 minutes into his cross-examination before Judge Patrick Marlette recessed the trial until Wednesday.
Gill’s attorney, Jesse Ortiz, asked the judge to release the witness from custody. Marlette acknowledged Gill’s cooperation but said he wouldn’t rule on the witness’s release until he is finished testifying.
The witness’s father, Frederick Dallas Gill Sr., said in an interview that Gill Jr. has suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the shooting and that he is no longer a drug dealer.
“I’m sure he feels at fault,” Gill Sr. said. “But he didn’t intend it.”