The testimony at the trial of Pejman Elahi will continue into its second week starting this Tuesday – and z107.7 will be giving daily reports up until the verdict.
With so many eyewitness testimonies jumping around in time a bit – we thought we’d take a step back and look at the case, the major people involved and the two incidents that resulted in 9 charges against Elahi.
Attempted Murder and Assault with a Firearms Charges
Counts 1, 2 and 3 are the most serious – they cover the Attempted Murder and Assault with a Firearm on a Person that came from two incidents that happened a little over 5 weeks apart in late 2022:
September 25th – Car Chase with Instacart Driver
The first incident occurred on the morning of September 25th, when an Instacart driver delivering groceries in Wonder Valley – reported that a man was chasing him on a white quad. The jury heard the testimony of the Instacart driver as well as the 911 call where the driver describes the pursuer attempting to open the car door as they both race down dirt roads.
When the driver had to find a spot to turn around, Elahi allegedly blocked the road with his quad, aimed a gun at the driver and fired – missing the driver and the car. The delivery driver was finally able to lose his pursuer on Amboy road, and Elahi was eventually arrested after a sheriff’s investigation.
November 9th – Gerald Jones, Brianna Schan, Pejman Elahi and a fight in the desert
The second incident occurred on November 9th and has the most number of players to keep track of.
The facts of that day are that a man named Gerald Jonas was shot 3 times in a field near Baseline and Utah Trail. He was visiting a woman named Brianna Schan – and in this case also known as Brianna Ashley. Gerard Jonas testified that Brianna and him are in an “open relationship” though he wasn’t sure who she was dating on the day of November 9th, when he allegedly briefly met with Pejman Elahi on Brianna’s property before agreeing to fight in a nearby dirt field.
The Jury listened to testimony from Deputy Christopher Jones who described following the tracks of the two men and their quads onto the dirt field, where the shoes prints and bullet casings tell a tale that closely matched a recorded version of the story that the victim gave to a detective while he was recovering from the 3 gunshot wounds at Desert Regional Medical in Palm Springs.
“I’ve been shot!”
In that initial recorded statement, Gerald Jonas named his attacker as “Chuckie from Wonder Valley” – a known nickname for Pejman Elahi – and he also picked him out of a lineup of 6 photos – saying on a scale of 1 to 100 his certainty was a 100 that Elahi was the man who – in his words “unloaded a full clip” at Jonas.
Jonas reportedly played dead in a wash after he was shot, and the jury saw dramatic doorbell video footage of Jonas limping and yelling “Help! I’ve been shot.” Jonas says he made it back onto his quad after Elahi left the area, and after being refused help by Brianna, neighbors eventually dialed 911 where deputies responded to the property and found Jonas bleeding from multiple gunshot wounds to his arm and legs.
However, when Jonas took the stand he repeatedly claimed that he only remembers a few details from that day and doesn’t know “who Chuckie is” and he doesn’t remember giving a recorded statement to a Detective Halloway. That recording was played later in the day for the jury. In that recording, Jonas identifies Elahi in a lineup and says he’s a 100 on a scale of certainty that Elahi was the man who – in his words – unloaded a “full clip” at him.
Jonas – who had methamphetamine and THC in his system on the day of the shooting – explained his fuzzy memories by saying “I use a lot of methamphetamine” and “I sleep like 3 times a month.”
Prosecuting attorney Heather Razook has repeatedly laid out the details of the case and the counts, calling police witnesses to give context around the two shooting incidents and the subsequent search that resulted in Elahi’s arrest. Despite Jonas’ failing memories of the incident, so far there haven’t been any eyewitness testimony that refutes’ the states claims against Elahi.
Defense Attorney John-Paul Serreao has pointed out that while Jonas’ original statement named “Chuckie” as the shooter, no fingerprints were found on the 6 cartridge casings recovered from the scene, and a physical description of the shooter was never given by the victim.
Gunshot victim Gerald Jonas: “I have no idea who Chuckie is.”
The victim Gerald Jonas repeatedly claimed “I have no idea who Chuckie is” during his nearly hour-long testimony.
The additional 6 counts brought against Pejman Elahi all result from a warrant search of the Wonder Valley property that Elahi occupies with his father and one other individual. Elahi admits to owning the modified short-barrel ar-15 style assault rifle, black powder pistol, and various gun parts and clips found in the search. The 9 counts also include one for a billy-club found on the property – significant only because as a felon, Elahi isn’t allowed to possess any weapons – be it firearm or handheld.
Prosecution will continue calling witnesses this week – but one person not expected to offer testimony is Elahi himself. During jury selection Defense attorney Serrao asked the potential jurors if they thought a defendant choosing not to take the stand was self-incriminating.
Though most of the testimony has been law enforcement, another man who lives on the property with both Pejman and his father gave a brief testimony, and its possible that Elahi’s father could take the stand as he is on the list of witnesses.
Update 4/27 – A verdict of Guilty was returned in this case for 8 of 9 counts