The trial of a San Manuel man accused in a deadly road-rage incident in Oro Valley began Tuesday in Pima County Superior Court.

David Arnold Mota is accused of first-degree murder, drive-by shooting and aggravated assault in the February 2013 death of Joshua Stephen Switalski.

Mota escalated a simple exchange of words into a deadly shooting when he fired a pistol twice at Switalski’s moving car, prosecutors with the Pima County Attorney’s Office said in opening statements.

“You’re not going to hear any evidence that David Mota was justified in taking Joshua Switalski’s life,” Deputy County Attorney Rona Kreamer told jurors in the courtroom of Judge Casey McGinley on Tuesday.

Switalski, 22, and girlfriend April Taylor were driving to dinner when they had an altercation with Mota, Kreamer said. The couple did nothing more than shout at Mota after he cut them off in traffic on northbound Oracle Road near First Avenue, she said.

Mota’s attorney, Natasha Wrae, said more than simple words were directed toward her client. Rather, she said, Switalski shouted obscenities and racial epithets at Mota and his passenger.

The actions, Wrae said, frightened Mota, whom she described as a simple, respectful resident of the rural mining town of San Manuel.

Wrae told jurors that Switalski was the aggressor.

Wrae also said Mota fired the gun at Switalski only to scare him, never intending to hit him. Switalski was hit in the back with a single slug from the .45 caliber pistol, which perforated his lung and heart.

Contact reporter Patrick McNamara at 573-4241 or On Twitter @pm929.