PITTSBURG -- A Bay Point man was arraigned Wednesday on charges of murder with a firearm enhancement. In a twist, one of the witnesses against him is his victim.
Patrick Laughlin, 59, pleaded not guilty to the charge and denied the enhancement in Pittsburg Superior Court. Originally charged with attempted murder for the April 4 shooting of Dale Cadwell during what prosecutors say was a dispute over a drug deal, Laughlin had the complaint against him amended when Cadwell died of an abdominal gunshot wound Monday at Walnut Creek's John Muir Medical Center.
Shortly after being shot, prosecutor Simon O'Connell said, Cadwell was able to give law enforcement officers a statement. Two other witnesses also were interviewed shortly after the shooting, O'Connell said.
From those statements, O'Connell said, investigators determined that Cadwell came to Laughlin's trailer home in the 100 block of North Broadway Avenue to purchase heroin. When Cadwell asked for a smaller amount than Laughlin was willing to sell, a dispute erupted. Laughlin, who was standing off his property, fired one shot through a chain-link fence, O'Connell said, striking Cadwell, who was standing on the porch.
Laughlin allegedly left the property with a 9 mm handgun. He later told investigators he gave the gun to a third party. A shell casing was found at the scene.
Laughlin is being held in lieu of $1 million bail.
Contact Gary Peterson at 925-952-5053. Follow him at Twitter.com/garyscribe.