ESCONDIDO — Octavian Crishan acted in self-defense when he shot his two roommates resulting in the death of one of the men, his attorney told jurors Jan. 14 during opening arguments.
Crishan, 70, is charged with the murder of his longtime friend Herman Wiesemeyer and the attempted murder of another friend Matthew Vivian in Wiesemeyer’s Escondido home in the 2100 block of Parktree Lane on April 18, 2007. Both Vivian and Crishan rented rooms from Wiesemeyer.
Defense attorney John Cotsirilos told jurors both men were verbally and physically abusive toward Crishan. He said Wiesemeyer, 67, had threatened to kick his client out of the house, while Vivian, a middle-aged nurse, threatened to poison Crishan with potassium chloride, a chemical used in lethal injections.
Prosecutors allege Crishan shot Wiesemeyer at close range around midnight with a Beretta semi-automatic pistol and left his body lying on the dining room floor. When Vivian arrived home from work around 8 a.m., he immediately noticed Wiesemeyer lying on the floor and went to his aid. That is when authorities believe Crishan came out from the shadows and shot Vivian point blank in the face.
Vivian, who sustained a gunshot wound to the jaw, was able to wrestle the gun away from Crishan and call 911, court documents state. During the struggle for the weapon, Crishan allegedly tried to fire the gun at Vivian; however, the weapon misfired, according to court records.
When police arrived around 8:45 a.m., Vivian exited the house with the handgun. Crishan came out three hours later, rambling and asking to be shot, court records state. Police used approximately seven shots from a beanbag gun and a police dog to subdue Crishan, according to court documents.
At the prompting of Crishan, authorities recovered several notes from the pockets of the robe that he was wearing when he exited the house. In one note he wrote, “I DECLARE I KILED HERMAN WIESEMEYER about 12 MIDNIGHT FRIDAY as REVERGE FOR HIM and MATT persecuting me, making Fun of me, Abusing me verbally and phisicly for the last 3 months,” according to court records.
He also told police that after he shot Vivian, he told him, “You ruined my life, I killed Herman and now I killed you,” court documents state.
Wiesemeyer asked Crishan to move into his Escondido home in 2006 from Las Vegas after the defendant was seriously injured in a debilitating car accident that made it difficult for Crishan to care for himself, according to court documents. Prior to the accident, Crishan suffered two strokes. It is believed he suffers from dementia, court documents state.
By all accounts, Wiesemeyer was a heavy drinker and gambler. His wife at the time said he and Crishan would often argue just for the sake of arguing, court records state. She told police she spoke to Wiesemeyer around 11:30 p.m. April 17, 2007, and she believed he had been drinking. Court documents show Wiesemeyer had a blood alcohol content of .18.
Wiesemeyer was arrested in 2005 for domestic violence against his aforementioned wife; he pleaded guilty to disturbing the peace, court records show. In 1996,Vivian was convicted of a misdemeanor charge stemming from striking his son, according to court documents.
Crishan, a former Las Vegas concert violinist, is expected to testify at the trial. He remains in jail in lieu of $1 million bail.