Former drug users’ testimony highlights ‘thrill-kill’ trial

By From page A3 | January 24, 2013

VALLEJO — A trio of former hardcore methamphetamine addicts who knew the suspects in the November 2007 homicides of two women took the witness stand Wednesday in the murder trial for one of the suspects.

Paige Linville is accused of joining her former boyfriend, Mario Moreno, for a road trip that included picking up one woman who Moreno shot and killed in the middle of the night at a remote dead-end road in Cordelia. Several hours later the pair targeted a Dixon mother who was walking her dog in the early afternoon. The woman was shot several times and died in the bushes outside of her apartment complex.

Authorities have described both killings as “thrill kills,” noting that the couple did not know either victim. Moreno has already made a plea deal with prosecutors. He agreed to testify against Linville in exchange for his plea to manslaughter charges and a promise not to do more than 32 years in prison.

The first witness was David D. Ingersol, whose local criminal record dates back nearly 20 years. Ingersol, currently doing prison time, was often vague and his memory was sketchy about a meeting he had with police a few months after the murders in which he offered to help police track down the murder weapon in exchange for having a pending felony case go away.

At first Ingersol said he could not remember when he was shot in an incident unrelated to the “thrill-kill” case, and he repeatedly refused to say who shot him. A phone call to his mother refreshed his memory about being shot, which occurred after the double-homicide but before his friends Moreno and Linville were arrested. Ingersol said he could not remember Linville wanting to get back the gun he had sold to a friend. Ingersol also denied any sort of armed standoff that occurred with Moreno outside his Vallejo home.

Gary W. Hoover, whose local criminal record dates back more than 25 years, knew Moreno “from the streets” and agreed with his portrayal as a “longtime crankster.” Hoover testified that police got it wrong when they claimed he told them about Linville threatening his girlfriend, saying she “could be number three” because she owed Moreno $400 for past methamphetamine deals.

Hoover said it was Moreno who made the threat as he paid back the debt his girlfriend had incurred.

The third witness, a former girlfriend of Ingersol whose local criminal record dates back fewer than 10 years, expressed fear of being labeled as a snitch for her testimony. She identified Linville as a “medium-sized” methamphetamine dealer in the Vallejo area at the time of the killings. She also described Linville’s phone call from jail a few weeks after her arrest in which Linville allegedly said of killing one of the women, “It was a rush. It was better than sex.”

Ingersol’s ex-girlfriend could not remember if she heard Linville’s commentary or had heard it secondhand. She also could not remember telling police in 2008 that it was definitely Linville who made the remark.

In between the addicts’ testimony was testimony from a MetroPCS official who said records of Moreno’s cellphone show the device was in the area of both homicides at the approximate times of the shootings. Also, a ballistics expert testified that the shell casings from both crime scenes matched each other and also matched a shell casing found in Linville’s car after her arrest.

The trial is expected to resume Jan. 28.

Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.

Jess Sullivan

Jess has covered the criminal justice system in Solano County for several years. He was an embedded reporter in Iraq in 2003.

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