Testimony from a perfect stranger last week could have saved 23-year-old Taide Asencio from attempted murder convictions and possible life sentences in a case where he argued he was acting in self-defense when he shot at a group of men in South Bay.
A jury on Friday found Asencio not guilty of three counts of attempted murder in a case where prosecutors say he confessed to shooting one man in the back of the head and fired at two others outside a convenience store.
Defense attorney Scott Skier acknowledged Asencio shot the men while on his bicycle, but presented testimony from a woman who witnessed the group of men harassing and threatening Asencio on two separate occasions.
Asencio, Skier said, pulled out his own gun when he thought one of the men was reaching for a gun.
The confrontation was captured on grainy video, Skier said. There was no gun found in the car, but Skier used images from the video to suggest one of the other men in the car went back to the car to remove a gun after the shooting.
Asencio’s jury did convict him on a second-degree felony charge of shooting into an occupied vehicle, but Skier is seeking to have that conviction thrown out based in the jury’s acquittals on the higher charges.
Asencio also faces a related felony gun charge.