A man who saw his friend shot to death on a Santa Rosa street testified Tuesday that Latroy Clinton Sr. was the killer.
Keith Manuel Quinn, 20, testified he had known Clinton 39, of Santa Rosa, for some time before the shooting. He had borrowed $2,000 from Clinton to buy a motorcycle and had not fully repaid the loan at the time of the slaying.
Quinn said Clinton confronted him and three other men, including Oscar Valenica, 23, of Santa Rosa, outside a Cumberland Street house early on June 25.
After Valencia jumped between Quinn and Clinton, who were arguing, Clinton went inside his girlfriend's nearby house and emerged with a large revolver, Quinn testified.
Quinn testified he tried to grab Clinton as he walked toward Valencia, bit "it was just too late," he said.
"He walked up to Oscar and shot him," Quinn said.
The statements came in a preliminary hearing for Clinton, an ex-convict charged with murder in the Valencia killing.
Quinn's testimony indicated the encounter was not random, as had been previously reported. He and some of the others in his group were acquainted with Clinton and one testified he had "smoked weed" with him at Quinn's house.
On that night of the shooting, Valencia, his older brother Jaime, Quinn and Miguel Ceja, 30, had been drinking at a nightclub in downtown Santa Rosa. They met some women and followed them to a Cumberland Street home so the women could change clothes, Ceja testified.
While they were waiting outside, Clinton pulled up behind their car and began arguing with Quinn. Quinn testified he did not remember what they were arguing about.
Quinn testified Oscar Valencia shoved Clinton and Clinton shoved him back. The two exchanged words before Clinton went into into the home of his girlfriend, which was next door.
Testimony varied about what happened next. Quinn said Clinton shot Valencia right away. Ceja said he pointed the gun at everyone in the group before shooting Valencia in the face.
Police said Clinton fled in his van. He was arrested on Highway 101 in Marin County after leading officers on a chase.
Defense lawyer Walter Rubenstein suggested in court Tuesday that Clinton acted in self defense after the four men tried to fight him.