Justin Mathew Wittkop guilty of attempted murder
A 19-year-old Granite Bay man”s decision to seek vengeance on a teenager who had a verbal confrontation with his girlfriend may cost him a lengthy stay in a state prison.
A Placer County trial jury found Justin Mathew Wittkop guilty Wednesday of attempted murder in a 2008 drive-by shooting in which a 16-year-old boy was hit twice by gunfire as he walked on Sierra College Boulevard near Douglas Boulevard in Roseville. The boy recovered from his wounds.
The jury also found Wittkop guilty of two counts of assault with a firearm, one count of shooting from a motor vehicle and one count of shooting at an inhabited building.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Garen Horst, who prosecuted Wittkop, said the attempted murder conviction carries a sentence of seven years to life in prison while a special finding by the jury that the crime was premeditated carries a term of 25 years to life.
Additional years could be tacked on for the other four charges and for 11 other special findings that were deemed true by the jury. The special findings involved the use or discharge of a firearm and the causing of great bodily injury to the victim.
The Nov. 5, 2008, shooting was an outgrowth of a verbal exchange between Wittkop’s then girlfriend, Kelsey Mariah Brace, and a group of boys who had walked in front of her car in a parking lot of a fast-food restaurant.
Later, as the boys walked on Sierra College Boulevard away from the restaurant, a car pulled up alongside them and the male driver fired three shots. The 16-year-old boy was struck in the side of the back and in the leg. The third shot went through a building but did not strike anyone.
Brace, 18, who was in the car with Wittkop, became a co-defendant in the case. She pleaded no contest to two charges of assault with a firearm and was sentenced in October to three years in prison. She agreed to testify for the prosecution in Wittkop’s trial.
Wittkop, who is in custody in the Placer County jail in Auburn, is scheduled for sentencing before Placer Superior Court Judge Mark S. Curry on April 9.