A San Manuel man who was facing a murder charge in the fatal shooting of another man in a road-rage incident has been acquitted of all charges in his case.
David Arnold Mota was found not guilty of charges that included first-degree murder, drive-by shooting and aggravated assault in the February 2013 shooting death of Joshua Stephen Switalski. Switalski was 22 years old.
“He was fully justified in his actions,” defense attorney Natasha Wrae told jurors in her closing arguments Tuesday.
The jury returned the not-guilty verdict late Wednesday afternoon.
The killing occurred when Mota, 22, accidentally cut off Switalski on North Oracle Road near Pusch View Lane. Switalski, who was driving with his girlfriend, pulled his car next to Moto’s where a verbal argument escalated.
Wrae told jurors that Switalski was so angry that Mota became scared and fired his semi-automatic handgun from his car. One of the shots struck Switalski’s car and the other hit his back, ripping into his lung and heart.
Deputy Pima County Attorney Bruce Chalk dismissed the claim of self-defense, asking why Mota didn’t call police after the incident. “At no point does he call 911 to tell them what just happened,” he said.
Instead, Chalk argued that Mota fled the scene, turning from Oracle Road onto to side streets in an attempt to evade police.
Mota also tried to hide evidence, Chalk said, describing how he or his passenger broke off the side-view mirror from the truck in an effort to hide the bullet holes.
Chalk also told jurors Mota not only violated the law, but also failed to live up to the obligations of gun ownership.
“It’s a right and it comes with a responsibility,” Chalk said. “You do not have the right to shoot at somebody who’s shouting at you.”