Man accused of several roadway shootings will face 5 counts of assault with a semi-automatic firearm

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A judge ruled there's enough evidence for a trial against the man accused of a series of highway shootings in Fresno and Madera counties, but the defense is gearing up to fight.

Prosecutors charged Jorge Gracia in six roadway shootings.

After weeks of terror on roadways west of Fresno, ballistics testing tied together five shootings and pointed to a single suspect.

A run-in with an off-duty correctional officer in Kerman led detectives to 42-year-old Jorge Gracia and a gun with the same type of bullets -- a .38 caliber Bryco Jennings semi-automatic.

Criminalist Robert Benavides tested the handgun and determined it was the gun used in those shootings.

But Gracia's attorney says ballistics testing isn't a perfect science.

"This type of analysis came from prehistoric caveman days where they'd mark on two pieces of wood to say the same thing and compare them," said defense attorney Robert Wynne of the Sawl Law Group.

"Could another Bryco Jennings .38 caliber gun potentially give similar markings?" an Action News reporter asked him.

"Absolutely," he said. "They're manufactured usually in batches. The rifling, they try to make it exact. So absolutely."

The crime lab couldn't identify the gun from Gracia's truck as the one used in a sixth shooting, so the judge dismissed one charge against him.

Wynne says he'll fight the ballistics if the case goes to trial, and he says the rest of the evidence might not be enough to convict Gracia.

"But you could convict the gun right now and send it to prison," he said. "What they don't have is the shooting and a lot of odd things. Witnesses and victims never shown a picture of Mr. Gracia's truck that they allegedly saw."

Prosecutors are confident in the evidence they have, and say they could still find evidence to revive the sixth charge, which would be the most serious.

The victim in that shooting still has a bullet lodged near her heart.
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