Jury Begins Deliberations in Burlingame Man's Murder Trial

Man pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

A man charged with shooting his friend 11 times in the head in Millbrae in July 2008 was a "cold-blooded" killer that should be found guilty of first-degree murder, a prosecuting attorney told jurors today.

During his closing statement in the San Mateo County Superior Court trial of Teyseer Najdawi, 28, Deputy District Attorney Al Giannini said the evidence incontrovertibly showed that the defendant intended to kill someone when he armed himself with a semi-automatic handgun and went out for a night of heavy drinking with his friend Jack Chu, 27.

Witnesses testified that Najdawi was drunk, high on Vicodin and belligerent when he left a San Francisco bar with Chu at about 1:20 a.m. on July 8, 2008. The two men drove to a residential neighborhood in Millbrae, where Najdawi allegedly shot Chu nearly a dozen times in the head at close range, "blowing his brains and blood out on to the street," Giannini said.

Najdawi then pushed Chu's body into the passenger seat and drove to Burlingame, where he parked the car just blocks away from where the victim's family lived, and left his body "to rot," Giannini said.

Passersby discovered Chu two days later and called police. Defense attorney Jonathan McDougall argued that Najdawi was paranoid and delusional when he armed himself and shot his friend without an apparent motive. McDougall reminded the jury of video surveillance footage taken just before the time of the murder that showed Najdawi urinating in a San Francisco doorway and aiming his gun at shadows cast by a passing vehicle.

Najdawi was armed because of a delusional fear that someone was going to kill him, McDougall said. Giannini countered that just because the defendant was paranoid, drunk and high did not make him unaware of his actions. Najdawi was enough in his right mind to grab Chu's cellphone after he shot him, tell his mom a made-up story about where he had been, and flee to Redding, Giannini said.

Prosecutors allege that Najdawi threw the murder weapon into the Redding River. The gun was never recovered, but the box it came in when the defendant bought it in Reno was found when investigators searched his home, Giannini said. Najdawi was arrested by a SWAT team at a Redding motel on July 17 and booked into San Mateo County Jail.

Months after his arrest, Najdawi allegedly attacked his jail cellmate and put him in a chokehold, Giannini said. If not for the actions of "two large deputies" who pulled Najdawi off his fellow inmate, the defendant would have killed him, Giannini said.

Najdawi faces one count of attempted murder and one count of assault with great bodily injury in connection with the attack. The defendant has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to all of the charges against him, including first-degree murder. If Najdawi is found guilty, a trial to determine his sanity will be conducted before the same jury.

- Bay City News


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