Jim Williams opened the door of the restaurant for Johnie Ray Johnson and his wife, Karen, on their way out of Mandango's four years ago, just before a wild-eyed man with a shotgun walked into their world and shattered it.
Williams, smoking a cigarette in front of the Elk Grove restaurant, wondered why somebody would be out on the town with a shotgun in hand. Then he lost sight of the Johnsons, right when a shotgun blast exploded the peace of the early Saturday evening.
When he ran over to see what happened, Williams saw Johnson down on the parking lot asphalt, his face "unrecognizable" from the shotgun blast, while the slain man's wife ran back toward the restaurant.
"She was in shock, and screaming, 'He shot my man! He shot my man!" Williams testified Thursday in Sacramento Superior Court.
As he called 911, Williams saw the gunman — identified by police and prosecutors as Aaron Norman Dunn — all but do a victory dance on his way into the street, where Elk Grove police finally stopped him with several gunshots to the chest.
"He was walking with his arms in the air as if he just had a big victory . . . like he won a big game, very proud of what he did," Williams said.
Dunn, 33, could face the death penalty if convicted of first-degree murder for the deaths of the 46-year-old Johnson as well as Michael John Daly, 45, in his trial before Judge Michael W. Sweet. Dunn also is accused of eight counts of attempted murder in the March 25, 2006, Laguna Boulevard rampage.
Defense lawyers concede that Dunn shot and killed Johnson and Daly, but they say he was "delusional" under the influence of methamphetamine in an episode of violence brought on by his wife's decision to leave him.
In a day of gripping testimony, jurors' heads swiveled back and forth as if they were watching a tennis match. First came the questions from Deputy District Attorney Scott Triplett and then the answers from five people whose ordinary night out with family and friends turned into shock and horror as they watched Dunn's spree unfold.
Vincent Marconi, an east Sacramento mechanic, had just finished a blind date and was driving east on Laguna when he saw Dunn's white Toyota Cressida speeding ahead of him. He said he saw it swerve to the right near Chili's Bar and Grill — where Daly was shot and killed, less than a mile from where Johnson was slain — and crash into a truck at the Laguna Springs Drive stoplight.
Marconi got out of his car to offer help and was approaching the responding police when he saw Dunn walking toward them. The defendant still had the shotgun, after he had circled through the parking lot in front of Mandango's.
"Both officers pulled their weapons," Marconi said. "I was in the wrong spot."
Marconi said he ducked for cover, but Dunn got behind him and shot him in the back. The blast raked him with shotgun pellets, but did not cause any serious physical damage.
"It felt like I got hit with a tree branch," Marconi said.
Marconi said he still remembers the look in Dunn's eyes.
"They were wild," he testified. "Very open. Very excited, or frightened. His eyes were wide open."
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