Los Gatos restaurant owner murder trial begins

September 1, 2010 4:48:43 PM PDT
The 2008 slaying of Los Gatos restaurant owner Mark Achilli was the result of a love triangle that led to a case of murder-for-hire, a prosecutor said today during opening statements in the trial of three men charged in the killing.

Achilli, the former owner of the 180 Restaurant and Lounge and Mountain Charley's saloon in downtown Los Gatos, was gunned down outside his Overlook Road townhouse on the morning of March 14, 2008.

Esequiel "Paul" Garcia, who bought the two venues from Achilli in 2007, was arrested in connection with the murder, along with Daniel Chaidez, a Mountain Charley's bouncer, and his cousins, Miguel Chaidez and Lucio Estrada.

The trial that began today is for Garcia, Estrada and Miguel Chaidez.

In the packed courtroom of Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge David Cena this morning, prosecutor Jeff Rosen told jurors Garcia was in love with Tessa Donnelly, a woman both Achilli and Garcia had dated, and wanted to kill Achilli because he couldn't have her.

"Paul Garcia wanted it and paid for it, Chaidez arranged it, and Estrada did it," Rosen said.

Rosen said Garcia had asked Daniel Chaidez for his help in arranging for the murder of Achilli, and had given him $9,500 in two separate payments for the job. Miguel Chaidez then contacted Estrada in Burbank and offered him money to get rid of Achilli, Rosen said.

Following Rosen's opening statement, Estrada's defense attorney, Charlie Giilan, briefly told the jury the evidence will show that Estrada did not commit the crime. He said Estrada was in town to collect a debt from Achilli, and cited a housecleaner at the townhouse who told police Estrada was not the shooter.

Garcia's attorney, Harry Robertson, was scheduled to give his opening statement this afternoon.


Load Comments