SCOTTSDALE, AZ - Police said they arrested and charged a Scottsdale criminal attorney with second degree murder Friday because his story didn’t add up.
David Appleton is accused of shooting Paul Pearson, 50, after an alleged road rage incident in Scottsdale Thursday night.
Initially, 59-year-old Appleton told investigators Pearson was tailgating him while driving north on Pima Road, according to police.
So Appleton reportedly drove into the back parking area of a CVS near the intersection of Pima and Pinnacle Peak roads.
Appleton claims Pearson followed behind, got out of his car and approached him.
Appleton opened his window and told police Pearson reached inside and started choking him.
When Pearson wouldn’t let go, Appleton told police he pulled out his gun and shot Pearson once in the chest.
Police said they weren’t able to find any evidence Pearson choked Appleton.
In addition, investigators have been in touch with Pearson’s relative who happened to be on the phone with Pearson while everything was happening.
Jesus Palomino worked for Pearson at one of his two Battery Center stores.
The family is devastated, said Palomino, who returned to the scene of the crime to remember Pearson.
"He was the best boss ever," he said.
Palomino is upset about the allegations about Pearson. He re-told the story from Pearson’s relative who heard everything on the phone.
"The only thing the cousin heard is ‘hold on,’” Palomino said.
Pearson told his relative he followed Appleton because he was driving erratically and thought he needed some help.
Palomino said Pearson was known for helping people.
Police don’t deny there may have been some sort of fight, but they said they don’t think Pearson choked Appleton.
“I think he knocked on the door, the window or something…and then all you hear is Tom [what people called Pearson] saying don't take out the gun…and then silence,” Palomino recalled being told by family members.
"What a shame," said Gina Mettio, who works at a beauty salon in the same shopping strip mall. "My heart goes out to his family for sure.”
Mettio, who also lives nearby, said she had just stepped out to grab a bite to eat when she heard what happened.
"We just heard all the sirens and we came out here,” she said. “And there were cops everywhere."
For the most part, most people working at that time didn’t hear anything.
“It's scary," she said. "We were scared. I've lived here…10 years in this area. I live right up the street in DC Ranch, never seen anything like that."
Pearson leaves behind a wife and three daughters.
Copyright 2011 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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