A Corte Madera man pleaded not guilty today in Marin County Superior Court to felony charges in connection with a road rage shooting in July. James Stephen Simon, 71, a physician with a practice in Novato, is charged with the attempted voluntary manslaughter of William Osenton, 69, of Tiburon and assault with a firearm, a .357-caliber pistol. The complaint includes enhancements of use of a deadly weapon and inflicting great bodily injury. Marin County District Attorney Ed Berberian said Simon faces a maximum prison term of 18 years if convicted of all charges and enhancements. Simon posted $250,000 cash bail in court, his attorney Charles Dresow said
The complaint alleges Simon shot Osenton twice in the torso “upon a sudden quarrel and heat of passion under the honest but unreasonable belief in the need to use deadly force.” The shooting happened in the front driveway of Simon’s home in the 5000 block of Paradise Drive in Corte Madera on July 17 after a road rage incident. The Central Marin Police Authority Police said both men were driving recklessly — braking and speeding up, for a mile or two on Paradise Drive. One of the men felt the other cut him off, Chief Todd Cusimano said. Police said Simon drove into his garage and Osenton tried to drive in behind him, but Simon closed the garage door onto the hood of Osenton’s vehicle. Dresow said Simon fired three shots, two striking the alleged victim. “This is a clear case of self-defense,” Dresow said.
“It began when the alleged victim chased Dr. Simon home and turned into his driveway and into his garage. He created the situation and put Dr. Simon in fear of his life and his wife’s life,” Dresow said. Simon gives physical exams to pilots who fly out of Gnoss Field in Novato, Dresow said. The Central Marin Police Authority seized guns and ammunition from Simon’s home, Dresow said. The licensed and registered guns were part of a collection of historical pieces that Simon was entitled to as a sportsman and a hunter and planned to bequeath to his heirs, Dresow said. The next court hearing is Oct. 15 regarding an order for Simon to stay away from the victim, Berberian said. “I don’t anticipate a settlement. I think he will maintain a self-defense posture. I see this going to trial,” Berberian said.
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