A woman on Thursday told a jury what she says her former boyfriend said after 28-year-old Shannon Case was found shot to death in the driver’s seat of her parked Isuzu Rodeo in west Modesto.
Madeline Lopez and Joseph Dixon were a couple around the time Case was killed near Robertson Road park about 1:30 a.m. April 4, 2009. A prosecutor has argued that racial hatred was the motive for the slaying and that Dixon shot Case because she introduced his girlfriend’s daughter to a black man.
Lopez testified Thursday that Dixon said, “She got what she deserved,” about Case’s shooting death. Lopez clarified that she and members of her family also said that about Case’s death.
Testimony continues in the trial for Dixon, who is accused of murder in the shooting. Initially, Dixon, Lopez and Desiree Mills all were charged with murdering Case. Lopez and Mills since have accepted plea deals to lesser charges.
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Lopez pleaded no contest to shooting at an occupied vehicle and is expected to be sentenced to five years in prison. Mills pleaded no contest to being an accessory in Case’s death and is expected to receive a jail sentence for time already served.
Dixon’s defense attorney has told the jury that the racial hatred came from Lopez, who hated black people and had the motive to kill Case, and that Lopez and her family have set up his client, who is innocent.
Soon after their arrest, Lopez and Dixon gave investigators a phony alibi for their whereabouts on the night of the shooting. The couple said they were “making a baby” at Lopez’s brother’s home. Lopez testified that Dixon came up with the fake alibi.
She said on the witness stand that Mills also lied, telling investigators she was at her home when Case was shot. The three defendants at one point agreed to stick to their stories during police questioning, according to Lopez.
Lopez confirmed that she told an investigator she got the gun that night, “That way, Joe (Dixon) could take care of Chris, so he wouldn’t bother my daughter.” Chris Saini was the black man Case introduced to Lopez’s daughter at a party.
Lopez also told investigators that Mills set up the meeting to lure Case near the park late at night, according to the prosecutor.
Moments before a preliminary hearing in the case was about to resume in July 2010, Dixon grabbed Mills’ hair, pulled her to the floor and tried to grab her throat, according to Stanislaus County sheriff’s officials.
After the assault in the courtroom, the judge decided the defendants would be prosecuted separately. Lopez remains in custody at the Stanislaus County Jail. Lopez and Mills have not been formally sentenced.
Thursday, Stanislaus Superior Court Judge Scott Steffen said the trial likely will conclude in mid-April. Testimony will continue Tuesday.