Escondido, CA
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Escondido’s McGee guilty of murdering mom with claw hammer

David Noel McGee Jr. 26, of Escondido was found guilty May 23 of first degree murder for beating his mother, 55-year old Rebecca “Becky” Apodaca to death with a claw hammer. The jury spent a day behind closed doors before finding McGee guilty.
He will be sentenced on June 25 at the Vista Courthouse. He faces 26 years to life in prison.
The murder occurred in the apartment they were sharing in Escondido on February 1, 2017. The prosecutor in the case, Keith Watanabe, described to jurors how Mrs. Apodaca failed to log in to her at-home medical billing job on February 1 and failed to respond multiple messages from her supervisor, family and friends.
Her daughter went to her house about 6:30 p.m. and found her unresponsive on a bed soaked in blood.
McGee was found cowering naked and covered in blood in a closet. He had inflicted knife wounds on his wrists and forearms and sliced across his own neck, although not deep enough to be life-threatening. A plugged in bloody toaster was found in the bathroom sink and an empty bottle of Benadryl, an over-the-counter antihistamine, was also discovered in the room.
The extended family kept a large bottle of the drug in the house and used it for various purposes, such as a sleeping aid.
The level of Benadryl in McGee’s blood was high, such that he could have swallowed as many as 100 of the pills, according to the prosecutor. Both the prosecution and defense agreed that McGee took a large enough dose that if he hadn’t been rushed to the hospital it would have been fatal.
McGee’s attorney, Lindsay Itzhaki, a public defender, argued that her client attacked his mother in a “fog of Benadryl” and thus was not guilty of murder. “David killed his mom, there is no doubt about that, but it was not murder,” declared the defense. She also described her client as “Passive, almost a doormat if you will.”
She told the jury that Benadryl “can cause hallucinations in high dose.
After he was released from the hospital McGee told the police that he had been depressed and blamed his mother for giving birth to him. He heard a voice telling him to hurt her, he reportedly said.

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