General Crime

* Defendant On Trail For Shooting Man Files Civil Suit Against Alleged Victim In San Rafael

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A Petaluma man currently on trial for shooting an elderly man in his home during an alleged residential burglary is suing the elderly resident for negligence, his attorney said today. Samuel Cutrufelli, 31, the alleged burglar, was also injured during the incident when Jay Leone, 90, shot him three times in an exchange of gunfire, according to police. Twin Cities police said Cutrufelli detained Leone with a firearm after he broke into the home in the 300 block of Via La Cumbre on Jan. 4 and searched it for valuables. Leone then armed himself and the two men exchanged gunfire, Sgt. Michael Norton said in January. Leone shot Cutrufelli three times and Cutrufelli shot Leone once in the face, Norton said. Cutrufelli fled in a vehicle but called San Rafael police to report he shot himself and needed medical attention, Norton said. Police then determined Cutrufelli broke into Leone’s home, and Leone called police a few minutes later, Norton said. Both men were taken to Marin General Hospital and Cutrufelli was arrested for burglary and attempted murder.

But at the criminal trial, Leone testified Cutrufelli told him he was a hit man and there was a “hit” on him, according to Cutrufelli’s attorney, Sanford Troy. Troy is representing Cutrufelli at his attempted murder and burglary trial in Marin County Superior Court in San Rafael. Closing arguments are scheduled for Friday. “There have been a lot of contradictions at the trial,” Troy said this afternoon. Cutrufelli was a methamphetamine user and there was evidence at the trial he was getting drugs from a woman who lived downstairs, Troy said. “Maybe Mr. Leone didn’t like it when her male friends came over. It’s a tangled web we weave. There are two versions of every story, and no one but the two men who were there know what happened,” Troy said. Cutrufelli claims he was begging for his life when Leone shot him in the back as he fled Leone’s home, according to Troy. “My client was begging for his life and Mr. Leone said, ‘It’s my turn,’ and shot him in the back causing great bodily injury,” Troy said. Cutrufelli’s civil suit, filed last week, seeks monetary damages because Cutrufelli suffered financial hardship, lost his house and is getting divorced. A status conference on the civil suit is scheduled for January. The civil suit’s prospects for success are “excellent” if Cutrufelli is acquitted, Troy said.

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