Murder trial of Daniel McDonald begins

MERCED, Calif.

Investigators say the 68-year-old shot his son in the head at their Delhi home in April of 2011. Prosecutors portray Daniel McDonald as a murderer who was mad at his son. But the defense claims the victim was violent and volatile, and had threatened to kill his father.

The judge gave Action News permission to film the trial, but after nearly three hours in the courtroom the defense attorney said he didn't realize Action News was there and demanded we turn off the camera.

Prosecutors say it started with an argument over a chainsaw, and ended with the 68-year-old murdering his own child.

"They got mad at each other, and the next thing you know, they went out of control," Curtis Tipton, the victim's friend said in April of 2011.

Action News interviewed the victim's friend, Curtis Tipton shortly after the shooting. He is the one who called 911, and the deputy district attorney played part of that recording during his opening statement. Tipton said the angry father threatened his life as well.

"Danny McDonald was standing there with the gun pointed at me," Tipton said.

Prosecutors told the jury Daniel admitted to the shooting right away, and hours later said he was tired of his kids. They say he never mentioned self-defense to deputies or family members he called from the jail. But Daniel's attorney paints a much different picture. He describes the victim as a violent man who beat and choked his alcoholic father more than once.

The defense claims the 46-year-old was angry the day of the crime because of some ongoing arguments, and he snapped after Daniel told his wife to shut up. The attorney says Donald rushed into the house like a tornado, and Daniel only fired at his son to save his own life.

Prosecutors showed graphic pictures of Donald's body. They and called witnesses, including a neighbor who described seeing the suspect on his front porch holding the rifle.

The trial will continue tomorrow morning, and the judge will decide then if Action News will be allowed to show video from inside the courtroom.

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