Murder trial starts in alleged drunk driving wreck

   The vehicular murder trial of an El Cajon man charged with causing two deaths while he was allegedly driving drunk on state Route 78 near Ramona started this week in El Cajon Superior Court.

   Jury selection began Tuesday in the trial of Shannon Kelly Shimp, 36, who is charged with two counts of second-degree murder in the traffic deaths of Ian Kinney, 19, of Julian, and Joseph Edwards, 52, of Ramona, on July 22, 2008.

   Shimp is also charged with two counts of gross vehicular manslaughter, and two counts of drunk driving including one that caused great bodily injury to Kinney’s girlfriend, Tessa Medearis, 18. He has pleaded not guilty.

   Opening statements and testimony were expected to start this week with Judge Herbert Exarhos presiding. Shimp was initially charged with two counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, but the District Attorney’s office added the murder charges later.

   Deputy District Attorney Monte Bennett said Shimp showed “conscious disregard for life” and “implied malice,” which are elements to prove second-degree murder.

   Shimp was driving a Chevy pickup on state Route 78 around 6 p.m. when he lost control of the truck and crossed into the Lexus that was driven by Kinney, who died at the scene. Edwards was a passenger in Shimp’s truck, which landed on top of the Lexus.

   If Shimp is convicted of two second-degree murder counts, he could face 30-years-to-life in prison. He remains in the George Bailey Detention Facility on $400,000 bail.

   
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