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San Diego County Digest


February 23, 1988

The judge in the attempted murder trial of a Vista man charged with trying to kill two sheriff's deputies issued a gag order Monday restraining the attorneys from talking to the press about the case.

San Diego Superior Court Judge William Mudd issued the order as the first item of business Monday before the trial of Mark Raymond Phelps resumed. Mudd was not available afterward to comment on why the order was issued.

Phelps, 27, of Vista, is charged with two counts of attempted murder in separate shootings involving sheriff's deputies James Bennetts and Alfred MacKrille.

Mudd, previously a Municipal Court judge, was recently appointed to the Superior Court bench and this is his second trial in that court.

Witnesses were called to the stand Monday to testify about the July 31 machine gun blasts they heard between Phelps and Bennetts in a Vista neighborhood.

Donna Kras testified that she saw a barefoot man in shorts who had come out of a red Corvette holding a machine gun. She was not asked to identify Phelps, however.

Theresa Bradford told jurors she heard gunshots that "sounded like a machine gun." Iris Orput also said she heard rapid gunshots.

John Emerson, Phelps' attorney, said in an opening statement last week that both deputies fired first at Phelps and that he responded by firing back in self-defense.

Bennetts disputed the defense theory when he testified Friday that he fired twice at Phelps only after Phelps peppered his patrol car with machine gun fire. Bennetts was wounded in the shoulder.

MacKrille was shot at Aug. 2 when arresting Phelps but was not hit.

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