SAN DIEGO — A one-time Marine who shot and killed his neighbor during the early hours of Christmas morning outside of his Oceanside home was sentenced to 40 years to life Sept. 2.
In July, Robert Glenn Pulley, 48, was convicted of second-degree murder in the death of Jimmy Misaalefua.
Pulley was also found guilty of hitting and threatening his 20-year-old son just minutes before the murder, when Oceanside police and firefighters had responded to a domestic violence dispute at his home on Brown Street, near College Boulevard.
He was acquitted of the charge of threatening his wife’s life just weeks before the shooting.
Before sentencing, the defense’s motion for a new trial was denied by Judge Louis Hanoian.
Deputy District Attorney Tracy Prior said to the court in her opening and closing statements that the case has been about a recipe for murder with its simple, yet volatile ingredients.
“It’s a recipe for disaster. Alcohol, threats to kill, guns and violence,” she said.
She said the defendant was a “time bomb” who carries around those ingredients and on Christmas was on a collision course toward killing.
She said that the defendant was fueled with alcohol and on the morning of the murder he had threatened to kill his own son just minutes before Misaalefua was gunned down.
At 2 a.m. that Christmas morning, Pulley’s son, an Army service member, called the fire department for help after his mother had somehow ended up on the ground during a fight between himself and his father when Pulley punched him in the face and threatened to “shoot, stab and kill him,” Prior said.
Firefighters arrived, and it took four of them to subdue the defendant.
Records show that the son was escorted out of the home and told police that he had seen two shotgun shells on the counter and that he was afraid of his dad.
There were no charges filed for the incident, and police left the scene at about 2:40 a.m.
Less than five minutes later, Oceanside Police responded to a call for shots fired from the same location they had just left.
There, they found Misaalefua, a husband, father of two young kids, and Oceanside Pop-Warner football coach, on the ground with a gunshot wound to the chest.
“Jimmy was minding his own business. Not even a word of Robert Pulley came up at the Misaalefua house on Christmas 2010,” Prior said.
“He was minding his own business at 1:53 in the morning when the defendant was running antics and threatening to shoot, stab and kill his son and generating the police to his home.”
Prior said that Pulley had walked to Misaalefua’s residence and began talking with him just after police had left from responding to the incident that involved him and his son, and that witnesses said the talking between the men seemed friendly.
“The facts are that these two neighbors had no bad-beef in the past,” Prior said. Then they walked to the cul-de-sac together, which is between their houses, and neighbors saw Pulley get up from the ground and then heard him say to Misaalefua, “I’ve got
something for you.” Prior said that
Prior said that nobody saw how Pulley ended up on the ground, but that witnesses saw him get up and walk 89 feet back to his house, and the victim followed him into his garage.
“He (Pulley) went to his home, retrieved a .25 Caliber, turned the safety off and fired two shots at Jimmy,” Prior said.
One of the shots hit a mirror that was on the wall in Pulley’s garage, and the other struck Misaalefua in the chest.
“Many who knew him said that a murder for him wasn’t a question of if, but of when,” she said.
Five weeks before the murder, Pulley’s wife called 911 and Pulley was heard in the background saying he was going to shoot his wife and kill himself, according to trial testimony.
When police arrived they learned Pulley had guns in the house and multiple firearms registered to him.
Pulley’s wife was safely removed from the house, but a three-hour standoff followed because Pulley had barricaded himself inside.
Pulley’s past records show that he was demoted twice in the military for problems with alcohol, when he served several years in the service some time ago.
His wife has also twice previously received a restraining order against him, Prior said.
Misaalefua, on the other hand, was a large man who was called a “gentle giant,” by one witness. He didn’t own a gun, Prior said.
The victim’s widow and her children still live across the street from Pulley’s family.
“No one takes joy in this kind of sentencing that rips apart two families,” Prior said.
She said that the Misaalefua children are having a hard time since the new school year began, and that they have spent most of their days in the counseling office.
The Pop Warner season just started, and they are having a hard time because their father was very involved in the youth football, she said.