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Man Faces 26 Years in Prison for Murdering Brother With Crossbow in San Diego

Man Faces 26 Years in Prison for Murdering Brother With Crossbow in San Diego

A file photograph of a judge's gavel. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

City News Service

City News Service

7/24/2023

Updated: 7/24/2023

SAN DIEGO—A Northern California man who fatally shot his brother with a crossbow at a City Heights park was convicted of first-degree murder last week.
Adam Thomas, 22, was found guilty by a San Diego jury in the Aug. 9, 2021, killing of his 22-year-old brother Trenton Thomas. The defendant was 20 years old at the time of his brother’s death.
Deputy District Attorney Christina Eastman told jurors Mr. Thomas took his brother to Central Avenue Mini Park on the night of Aug. 9, blindfolded him, and shot him in the head.
The prosecutor described the killing as a premeditated “execution” in which Mr. Thomas fled the scene immediately after shooting his brother and dumped the crossbow in a canyon a few blocks away.
Mr. Thomas’s defense attorney, Marc Carlos, told the jury his client had no reason to want to murder his brother and argued the killing was a “horrible accident.”
Mr. Carlos told jurors Mr. Thomas bought the crossbow as a birthday gift for his brother and was planning to give it to him in a surprise fashion at the park. While bringing the crossbow over to his brother, Mr. Carlos alleged Mr. Thomas tripped and accidentally fired the weapon, then fled in a panic.
Mr. Thomas was arrested a few days later in Sacramento, where he and his family lived. Trenton Thomas was also originally from Sacramento, but was living in the San Diego area at the time of his death.
According to Ms. Eastman, Adam Thomas left home suddenly and did not tell others why he was meeting with his brother.
He drove south with the crossbow in the trunk of his car, Ms. Eastman said, and booked an Airbnb in Escondido for one night, on Aug. 9. Handwritten directions from the Airbnb to Central Avenue Mini Park and back were later found inside his car.
Mr. Carlos said Mr. Thomas chose the park in part because it provided open space for the brothers to shoot the crossbow.
The attorney said that along with a lack of motive, there was no sophisticated planning to show that he was trying to get away with murder. Mr. Thomas bought the crossbow with his debit card and had the weapon mailed to his home address, according to Mr. Carlos.
Mr. Thomas faces up to 26 years to life in state prison when he is sentenced next month.
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