BARSTOW • David Anthony Loustaunau's 1988 Grandview cold case murder trial is scheduled to begin this week.
Loustaunau, 40, is charged with murder in connection with the shooting death of Leroy Stracner, who was 39 when he died. Deputy District Attorney John Thomas and Loustaunau's defense attorney, Ronald Powell, began jury selection Wednesday. The pair eliminated potential jurors based on hardships during hearings on Wednesday and Thursday, according to Thomas. The remaining potential jurors will return to the Barstow courthouse on Monday to fill out questionnaires and continue the selection process.
Thomas said he expects to wrap up jury selection and begin opening statements on Tuesday.
Loustaunau is accused of shooting Stracner during an altercation at a house on the 35200 block of Birch Road in Grandview in October of 1988. Stracner died of two gunshot wounds to his upper body at the house, according to a San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department report. Witnesses told investigators that Stracner pulled out a handgun and that he was shot while he and Loustaunau fought for control of it during the 1988 investigation. The District Attorney's office did not find enough evidence to file murder charges, according to the report.
However, the sheriff's department's cold case team reviewed the case after Stracner's family asked them to look into the shooting, according to the report. A warrant for Loustaunau's arrest was issued in November of 2008, and he was extradited back to San Bernardino from Kingman, Ariz., to face murder charges after investigators concluded the story about the two men struggling with the gun was not true. Investigators determined the story was innacurate after reinterviewing key witnesses.
Tina Simmons, the only person other than Loustaunau and Stracner who was in the house at the time of the shooting, testified that Loustaunau was upset with Stracner for firing a gun past Simmons head the day of the shooting.
Simmons testified during a preliminary hearing in May that she was in a relationship with Stracner and romantically involved with Loustaunau.
Simmons said she heard someone yell and gunshots in the house while she was showering. Loustaunau entered the bathroom holding a gun a few minutes after she heard the shots.
However, Simmons said she didn't believe Loustaunau meant to kill Stracner.