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The murder trial for a man accused of shooting his friend 10 times in the head and abandoning his body in a car in Burlingame three years ago got under way in San Mateo County Superior Court today. Teyseer “Terry” Najdawi, 28, has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to killing Jack Chu, 27, on July 8, 2008. During his opening statement, Deputy District Attorney Al Giannini showed the jury footage from video surveillance cameras that caught Najdawi stumbling down a street in San Francisco’s Parkside neighborhood after a night of heavy drinking with Chu that ended at a bar called the Dragon Lounge.
In one of the video clips, Najdawi was seen walking off-balance and carrying what appears to be a Glock semi-automatic handgun in his right hand. A Glock was the weapon used to shoot Chu, Giannini said. In another video clip, Najdawi was seen urinating in the doorway
of a building on 24th Avenue, and aiming his gun at the lights of a passing vehicle. Prosecutors said that shortly after the defendant was caught on video, he got into Chu’s car and they drove out of San Francisco and eventually parked on a residential street in Millbrae. In the early morning hours, witnesses reported hearing “a bunch of gunshots” ring out from Chu’s car as the defendant “blew the guy’s head
apart,” Giannini said. Bullet casings and parts of Chu’s head were later found on the street, Giannini said. Najdawi allegedly pushed Chu’s body into the passenger seat and drove his car to Burlingame where he abandoned it within blocks from where the victim’s family lived, prosecutors said. Passersby discovered Chu in the car on the morning of July 10 and called police. Najdawi fled to Redding, where he was arrested at a motel on July 17, according to the prosecution.
Giannini said Najdawi got rid of the murder weapon by throwing it in the Redding River, but investigators who searched his Burlingame home found the box that it came in when the defendant bought it in Reno. Investigators also found Najdawi’s clothing with Chu’s blood on
it, Giannini said. Defense attorney Jonathan McDougall did not present an opening statement. In addition to murdering Chu, Najdawi has been charged with assaulting an inmate while in custody in San Mateo County Jail.
In September 2008, Prosecutors say that Najdawi grabbed his cellmate and put him in a chokehold until correctional officers arrived and
pulled him off. The defendant was subsequently found incompetent to stand trial and sent to Napa State Hospital, where he remained until April. If Nadjawi is found guilty of murder, the trial will move to a sanity phase, in which the defense will have the burden of proving that the
defendant was insane at the time of the murder.
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