Valley News -

Jury selection set for trial of man who allegedly killed store clerk


Last updated 1/23/2019 at 3:07pm

Riverside County Sheriff's Department

James Curtis Coon, 27, of Lake Elsinore could face life in prison.

MURRIETA - Jury selection is slated to get underway Thursday, Jan. 24 for the trial of a man accused of gunning down a 47-year-old Lake Elsinore store clerk and trying to shoot another man during a robbery.

James Curtis Coon, 27, of Lake Elsinore could face life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted of the 2017 slaying of Eric Whitecomb of Wildomar.

Coon is charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder, armed robbery, burglary and a special circumstance allegation of killing in the course of a robbery.

Riverside County Superior Court Judge Paul Dickerson today heard pretrial motions to iron out the scheduling of witnesses and other matters.

Several panels of prospective jurors are expected to be summoned to the Southwest Justice Center in Murrieta Thursday for screening as to their availability and qualifications.

In the predawn hours of June 14, 2017, Whitecomb was wrapping up his shift at the Circle K in the 16300 block of Lakeshore Drive, near Clement Street, when the defendant allegedly confronted him with a pistol. The victim, who had worked at the convenience store for more than a decade, was shot multiple times and died at the scene.

Another man, identified in court documents only as "R.D.,'' was in the line of fire but was not hit. He called 911 immediately after the attack.

Coon allegedly fled to a residence on Driftwood Lane, just under a mile from the store. Within 12 hours, he was taken into custody by detectives and booked into jail.

The defendant, who is being held without bail at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning, has no documented prior felony convictions in Riverside County.


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