For at least the next few decades, 45-year-old Diana Lovejoy will be pacing jail cells after she was found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder and attempted murder in a killer-for-hire plot against her now-ex-husband; but it’s her reaction to Monday’s verdict that has the internet buzzing. When Judge Sim von Kalinowski read the verdict, Lovejoy collapsed onto the floor.
Local reporter Jamie Chambers (who is also an EMT), rushed to Lovejoy’s side until paramedics arrived and carried her out on a gurney. The reading of the verdicts continued roughly 30 minutes later, after Lovejoy was removed from the room. Co-defendant Weldon McDavid Jr. was found guilty of attempted murder. He handled his reckoning a bit better, dropping his head into his hands and crying.
Chambers told The San Diego Union-Tribune that when he got to Lovejoy, she was unconscious but later regained her composure. He speculated that the shock had momentarily overwhelmed her.
The southern California woman and her estranged husband, Greg Mulvihill, spent two years tangled in a divorce and custody battle over their son before reaching an agreement that put Lovejoy on the hook for $120,000. Weeks before the money was due, Mulvihill received a phone call from a source claiming to have information on his estranged wife and telling him to pick up a package on a dark dirt road.
When he arrived on the shady path some time after 11 p.m. on Sept. 1, 2016, Mulvihill spotted McDavid in the bushes. The former Marine wore camouflage and, using a long-barreled rifle, shot Lovejoy’s former husband in the torso. In court, McDavid’s attorney claimed that if the veteran and trained marksman had wanted to kill Mulvihill, that’s exactly what he would have done. The attorney said his client fired only after he heard someone cry out, “I have a gun!” KSWB reports. Mulvihill and a coworker that he’d brought along both managed to escape with their lives.
Lovejoy and Mulvihill’s custody battle was characterized by a chorus of nasty accusations; she alleged that he sexually abused her and their son, and that he was a drug addict.
The co-defendants apparently met at the gun range where McDavid worked. In a search conducted on McDavid’s garage, investigators discovered a small arsenal of guns and a silencer.
The jury spent almost half of the final day deliberating before settling on their verdicts. Juror Erin Reed told the Union-Tribune, “[It was] hard when we watched her faint. But that didn’t change any of our verdicts.” An unnamed juror told the paper, “We rejected [McDavid’s] story pretty much right off the bat. He was lying. It was getting absurd at times.” Reed echoed those statements, saying that the defense’s timeline of the events in the shady dirt path “just didn’t seem plausible,” adding, “It seemed too far-fetched for what actually happened.”
McDavid and Lovejoy will be sentenced on Dec. 12. They are facing 50 and 25 years to life in prison, respectively.