Jury to decide sentence of Merced man accused of killing son

MERCED, Calif.

Sixty-eight-year-old Daniel McDonald shot his son at their Delhi home in April of 2011. Prosecutors call him a cold blooded killer, but the defense argues the father only grabbed the gun to save his own life.

Daniel McDonald sat quietly during the closing arguments of his murder trial. First, the prosecutor summarized the evidence, including a 911 tape in which he says the father proudly admits to killing his son, Donald, at their Delhi home.

Curtis Tipton, the victim's friend, made a 911 phone call, and Action News interviewed him shortly after the shooting that happened in April of 2011. "They got mad at each other, and the next thing you know, they went out of control."

Deputy District Attorney Thomas Min told the jury Daniel is a Navy veteran and expert marksman who shot his own child in the back of the head from a distance. He says the 68-year-old never showed compassion after the homicide, and even bragged about his kill shot.

But the defense attorney portrays his client as the victim. He told jurors 46-year-old Donald was known for his violent and volatile behavior.

"They'd talk about the veins bulging in his neck, and his face turning red," defense attorney Frank Carson said.

Daniel testified during the trial his son was rushing toward him and he grabbed a rifle out of fear. He told jurors the gun went off as Donald grabbed the barrel. But prosecutors questioned why there was no blood or fingerprints to support that theory, something the defense attorney dismissed.

Frank Carson said there were no usable prints from anyone on the gun, and implied detectives did a terrible job investigating. The Deputy DA was making his final rebuttal Tuesday evening and the jury will deliberate soon. Prosecutors are asking for a conviction on first degree murder. But jurors can also consider second degree murder and manslaughter.

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