Scottsdale Defense Attorney David Appleton Faces Murder Rap After Road-Rage Shooting

Categories: Streets of Rage
appleton.jpg
Scottsdale Police Department
David Appleton, the former president of the Phoenix Trial Lawyer's Association, fatally shot a man during an apparent road rage incident last night.
"Inconsistencies" in his story about fatally shooting a man during an apparent road-rage incident last night has led to the arrest of Scottsdale attorney David Appleton, who once served as the president of the Phoenix Trial Lawyer's Association..

About 7 p.m. yesterday, Appleton called police to report that he'd shot a man in the parking lot of a Scottsdale pharmacy near Pima and Pinnacle Peak roads.

When police got to the scene, they found Appleton waiting near his Toyota SUV. Also near the SUV was the body of 50-year-old Paul Pearson, whom Appleton admitted to shooting.

Appleton, Scottsdale police say, was cooperative, even as he was taken into custody.

When questioned by police about the shooting, Appleton told detectives he was driving north on Pima Road when he noticed a car tailgating him. He pulled over in the parking lot of a nearby CVS pharmacy to see what the other driver wanted.

Once in the parking lot, the driver of the other vehicle, Pearson, got out of his car, walked over to Appleton's SUV, reached in the open window, and started choking him -- according to Appleton, that is.

The attorney then grabbed a pistol to try and scare Pearson away, but his attacker was unfazed, and continued to choke Appleton.

Appleton then fired one shot, killing Pearson.

Police questioned Appleton for hours and determined his story didn't add up. He was placed under arrest about 1:30 a.m. today.

Appleton was booked into a Maricopa County jail on one count of second-degree murder.
My Voice Nation Help
216 comments
Rosemary Nelson
Rosemary Nelson

My husband and I were victims of your tactics!I am so sorry for this victims family.You were a "Time Bomb" ready to go off.Did you get enough practice in the  "Mercenary Camps"....THAT PREPARED YOU TO KILL THIS MAN??I hope justice is done and you spend the rest of your years in that black and white uniform.

dj7u
dj7u

NEW NEWS UPDATE EVERYBODY :)

http://www.azcentral.com/commu...

Appleton told Scottsdale police when they asked why didn't you call 911 if you were in fear? He had no reply and then said,"what I did was stupid." Wow, sounds like this man is guilty as sin. Can you say "consciousness of guilt." When you kill in outright self defense this isn't a statement consistent with that.

As Pearson approached from passenger side as I've always said. Appleton admitted his .38 revolver laying on the passenger seat. Appleton was baiting him for sure looking for trouble and boy did he get it.

Rex Reason
Rex Reason

So does he plan to defend himself?

dj7u
dj7u

Try reading some comments and the link to Appleton's insane history:

http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.c...

BoggyPhillip
BoggyPhillip

"Neither Appleton or the other driver was cited, but police determined that based on the 9-1-1 call, Appleton was the aggressor."

I would really _love_ to know how the police "determined" that.  Maybe they switched on that cop telepathy they're sure they have and received brain waves from the great Alien cop-mind from the 12th planet of the Xeno sun and it told them.

Probably the same way they assumed that 15-20 seconds of holding someone's neck should have left a mark on Appleton's neck, GOSH DARN IT, IT'S NOT THERE!!

dj7u
dj7u

They determined he was the aggressor mental giant. By the simple fact, he wanted to brandish his pistol to another occupied vehicle while driving!

BoggyPhillip
BoggyPhillip

That doesn't mean he was the aggressor.  He reputedly said that to the operator but it says nothing about what actually happened out on the road.

Dj7u
Dj7u

Again, as several news article mention Pearson came to the passenger side of Appleton's Toyota FJ. Hard to choke someone unless his arms are 4-6 feet long!

BoggyPhillip
BoggyPhillip

"Even, Appleton admits what he did was stupid!"

Try keeping everything in context, Sherlock.  Appleton stated, specifically, that not calling 911 when Pearson tailgated him on the road was stupid - which perhaps it was. You're implying he was referring to something completely different, which is a pretty slimey rhetorical tactic for someone so sure that Appleton is guilty.  If he's so guilty, we shouldn't need to play misleading tricks with the facts to convince the readers, right?

BoggyPhillip
BoggyPhillip

A couple news sources stated the body was found on the passenger side of Appleton's car when they arrived.  That isn't the same thing as Appleton claiming he was being choked from the passenger side.  If you're holding an authentic copy of the police report in your hands, please quote from the part that says otherwise.

dj7u
dj7u

It's all in the police report. Appleton laid his .38 revolver on the passenger seat. As Pearson approached the passenger side he rolled down the window. Do the math. Even, Appleton admits what he did was stupid!

BoggyPhillip
BoggyPhillip

I was implying that Appleton was clear-headed enough during the interview _after_ the altercation to remain cognizant of state law.

BoggyPhillip
BoggyPhillip

There wouldn't be marks on the neck.  The cops are talking out of their ass on that one.  You can kill a guy easily enough without leaving marks on his neck.  If you don't believe me, go into any jujitsu class and ask the sempei to demonstrate a choke hold on you.  And we don't yet know where the body was found.  Nor if it even matters where it was found in relation to where Appleton's car was when the police arrived.

dj7u
dj7u

The body was found on the passenger side. Doesn't matter what a lawyer famous in the movie LIAR LIAR would say. It's what the evidence supports. NO MARKS ON NECK.

maxonepercent
maxonepercent

You are implying that Appleton was clear-headed enough during the altercation to remain cognizant of state law.  This is a dangerous admission because it means that he probably did not feel threatened enough to warrant the use of lethal force, and it would tend to indicate that he was deliberately looking for an excuse to shoot.  This would jibe with the overall image we are getting of Appleton through these road-rage 9-1-1 calls he had made earlier, that he was a confrontational-maniac-armed-with-a-handgun-out-looking-for-trouble.

Personally I doubt he was that level-headed at the time, he was probably quaking with rage over the confrontation on the road.  I think this is why he chose to pull behind the store in stead of in the front, that would minimize the chance for witnesses.  I think he shot in anger and tried to use his knowledge of the law to protect himself.  Regardless, it will be up to a jury to decide, and his past record is going to really hurt him in that circumstance

BoggyPhillip
BoggyPhillip

So you really think an experienced trial lawyer tried to tell the cops someone was choking him through the passenger side window and so he had to shoot the guy?  Unlikely.  You're completely right: it'd be hard to choke someone unless his arms were 4-6 feet long so -obviously any such articles are in error or are missing something critical.

temashenry
temashenry

I read your post. I am little bit confuse about who killed the man. The person called police and told the whole story. But police took him in custody. 

IT Consultants Toronto

Dj7u
Dj7u

Read more comments that aren't Appleton jail protestors yesterday on TV and you might get some truth!

Yeah
Yeah

It's frightening to see all the gun psychos crawl out of the woodwork to defend this creep, even going to the extremes of making up "facts" and denying corroborative news reports.  Thankfully, given the cops' observation of no evidence Appleton was grabbed by the throat or wrist, no jury will buy his bullshit story, he will be convicted, he will never practice law again, and he will die alone after being sodomized to death.  He killed a father of 3 because he, like most gun fanatics, was already angry at the world, played tough guy and mouthed off because he had a gun, and when challenged, shot someone out of abject fear. 

And by the way, this shrieking Marcy harpie sounds like she's translating what her attorney husband says in response to her nutjob questions.  Condescension is the last refuge of a moron, sweetheart. 

maxonepercent
maxonepercent

Please don't judge all gun-owners by the actions of deranged people like Dave Appleton.  The vast majority of us are law-abiding citizens who just want to be able to defend ourselves from people like him!

From everything we are hearing about this man it seems pretty apparent that he had a lust for blood.  He drove around with a gun in his car getting into confrontations with people over trivial road behavior.  Taking away guns is not going to prevent maniacs like him from destroying lives, it is only going to prevent innocent people from being able to defend themselves fairly. There are people just like Dave Appleton who ride the subway system in NYC with knives waiting for someone to give them an excuse.  It is naive to think you are going to stop that kind of behavior by taking one choice of weapon away from the general populace.

dj7u
dj7u

Read the latest New Times article about Appleton having a road rage history. Appleton called Scottsdale police twice this year to report road-rage incidents. In both cases, police determined Appleton was the aggressor.

Nice to see some of you had a hunch in the dumpster. You would have been his next victim:

http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.c...

Rnelson
Rnelson

Five years ago my husband became an innocent victim of Mr. Appleton's tactics. This man should spend the rest of his life in jail!!!!!!!!!! 

dj7u
dj7u

I agree days ago I commented below on here that the prosecutor should seek capitol first degree murder charges since it is clear this was premeditated murder. The local news was talking earlier today about there being many people at a protest at the jail in support of Appleton. Must be all the murderers he got off trying to return the favor. He has his own law office in Scottsdale.

dj7u
dj7u

http://www.ktar.com/?nid=6&... http://www.kpho.com/story/1601... http://www.azfamily.com/news/l... http://www.toyota.com/fjcruise... No reasonable person (juror) is going to buy what Appleton is selling. Nobody can reach through a Toyota FJ that Appleton was driving through the passenger side to choke him. Plus, officers noticed no marks on Appleton's neck! So, the evidence clearly supports a conviction.

BoggyPhillip
BoggyPhillip

Who said that anyone reached through the passenger side?  I've never seen that printed anywhere.

Dj7u
Dj7u

Read the article links I provided above. Two of the three links say it was on the passenger side.

Robin
Robin

I'm glad you got it all figured out. Did someone appoint you God, or is that your own self professed righteousness. I hope your never in a situation where you have to protect your life- because obviously you would rather die. 

Whether you like it or not we are innocent until proven guilty. I've seen reports that said the deceased was on the passenger side, I've seen reports that said the deceased was on the drivers side. Are you so sure about the facts from the limited view we have so far?

maxonepercent
maxonepercent

You are right, he will have his day in court.  However, what do you think a jury is going to think of his excuse?  They aren't going to care what the letter of the law is, they are going to judge him on his actions alone.  The argument that "I shot him because I could" is not going to play very well in front of any jury.  Part of the reason why the Arizona self-defense law is so broad is because the authors were well aware of the fact that juries very rarely acquit people on self-defense arguments, not without a preponderance of proof that the accused was facing instant death.  Even if jurors choose to believe that Pearson was choking Appleton, in their minds it still may not add up to enough to warrant shooting him.

dj7u
dj7u

Robin, first stop putting words in my mouth. I don't claim to be appointed by God or mentioned any righteousness. Certain shooting scenarios are a legal gray area. But, this isn't one of them.

If you did your homework a little instead of acting like a laymen regarding the law and ignorant about facts of this case. Simply reading Amy Winski post below (she's related to the deceased) and her brother or husband, etc was on FOX news talking about this case. Her brother or husband, etc was the cousin on the phone with the deceased.

So, that's how I know that the deceased was on the passenger side. Hence, the murder charge along with no marks on Appleton's neck. Don't have to be a genius on this one. A minority of news agencies may have reported drivers side simply cause of Appleton's allegation of choking not knowing the facts told to the officers involved.

Robin, you must remember if the officers arrested without facts to support the charge they can be held liable at least in federal court under Title 42 USC Section 1983.

BoggyPhillip
BoggyPhillip

"Appleton went nuts this time due to Pearson stopping on yellow and not going. So, Appleton got in front of Pearson later. Coincidentally, Appleton pulled into CVS where Pearson was going....metaphorically this was like a deadly trap with Pearson being the mouse."

Metaphorically, this is psychotic.

Dj7u
Dj7u

BoggyPhillip. No, re-read all not just one comment big guy. Why do we have to catch you up on things every step of the way?  Once again despite Appleton's two potentially fatal prior road rage incidents just this year: http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.c...

Appleton went nuts this time due to Pearson stopping on yellow and not going. So, Appleton got in front of Pearson later. Coincidentally, Appleton pulled into CVS where Pearson was going. So, when Appleton parked there and Pearson saw him driving erratically in front of him. Pearson approached the passenger side to see if he was ok. From the deceased point of view there wasn't road rage. Just in Appleton's screws loose mind. Nobody can reach the drivers side to choke Appleton from the passengers side of his Toyota FJ.

Anyone with a high IQ over 150 can articulate based on the totality of Appleton's actions both past & this present case. This case spells out a need for a first degree murder capitol case.

Again, metaphorically this was like a deadly trap with Pearson being the mouse. Appleton being the snake.

BoggyPhillip
BoggyPhillip

"If you did your homework a little instead of acting like a laymen regarding the law and ignorant about facts of this case. Simply reading Amy Winski post below ..."

This the same Amy Winski who apparently thinks you get your cough medicine from the drug store loading dock?

Geedub3
Geedub3

Everybody has an opinion but only Mr. Appleton and any witnesses know for sure what happened. The Forensic Evidence will dictate what actually happened. That includes witnesses, suveillance cameras (around the pharmacy) and physical evidence. Police Officers must conduct an exhaustive Crime Scene Investigation in order to prove or disprove whether or not the deceased entered or attempted to enter the shooter's vehicle. Cell phone records, hairs and fibers and GSR are all necessary and important. Mr. Appleton also has to have a Forensic Science Team inspect the vehicle to refute any sloppy police work. Shooting is always the last resort but if you are in fear of your life, shooting is justified!!!!!!!!

maxonepercent
maxonepercent

The fact that the police have moved forward with a Second Degree Murder charge so early in the investigation tells me they feel as though they have some pretty concrete proof that he broke the law.

Sales Dept
Sales Dept

OMG, I know this guy! He tried buying a car from me at a dealership I worked at three years ago. An individual you can't forget; very polite, intelligent, and extremely interesting to talk to, but also kinda strange. One of those anti-government people, he seemed very paranoid and slightly out of touch with reality. He very well could be mentally ill. After he showed back up with a duffel bag of cash to buy the car, we noticed he was carrying a firearm and immediately asked him to leave. I thought that was a little extreme on our part at the time, but looks like it was a wise decision after all. This is really a tragic story, I feel for everyone involved.

Robin
Robin

We live in Arizona and it is legal to carry a firearm. It is also legal to buy a car or anything else with cash. Because someone is not traditional doesn't make them a psychopathic killer. Neither does having a speeding ticket or driving in the HOV lane. How many of you have never had a parking or speeding ticket? or are you living in a glass house. Just because it's in writing don't make it true. What happened to presuming innocence until proven guilty- what happened to getting all the facts, which we don't have. 

maxonepercent
maxonepercent

The police feel that he committed Second Degree Murder, they must have their rationale.  It stands to reason that unstable people are inclined to commit murder, at least that seems to be the trend...

Anonymous
Anonymous

Dave is innocent! The press is completely slanting the story. Most of the information in it is completely untrue. I am very sad for the family's loss, but Dave has been a responsible gun owner for 30 years. He wouldn't shoot anyone unless he absolutely had to in order to save his life. Please join our cause: http://www.facebook.com/pages/...

maxonepercent
maxonepercent

It sounds like you are a personal friend of the accused, your opinion is thereby biased and unreliable.  Sorry

citizen
citizen

he is a murderer!!I hope he Burns in HELL!!!!!!!!!!

dj7u
dj7u

Support your statements with some factual basis.

Tr7fan
Tr7fan

sounds to me a bunch of amateurs (the police) are getting back at the pros (the attorney)

HesAShiester
HesAShiester

I don't know any of these people, but I like a good shoot out. I just wish the lawyer had died instead of the normal human.

IHateSnakes
IHateSnakes

Ever hear the one: What do you call 10,000 dead lawyers at the bottom of the sea? A good start.

That shit is true. Lawyers suck ass.

Dj7u
Dj7u

HesAShiester & IHateSnakes, I couldn't agree more with both of you..

 

Now Trending

Phoenix Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...