KINGMAN — A Mohave County jury acquitted a Bullhead City man Thursday of both counts of murder for a February 2017 road rage shooting.
Jake Patrick Biunno, 22, was found not guilty of two counts of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Juan Pedro Flores, 33. The two counts were for different theories of the same murder of the victim.
One juror said she didn’t believe the evidence warranted a murder charge and might have found him guilty of manslaughter or a lesser charge. Another juror said the video of the fight between Flores and Biunno’s passenger was a deciding factor. Also, the length of time Flores had Biunno’s friend in a headlock during the fight was a factor in the verdict.
Deputy Mohave County Attorney Ryan Dooley argued Biunno and two passengers encountered Flores on Feb. 20, 2017, at a Bullhead City intersection in the 500 block of Riviera Boulevard. Flores, 33, reportedly was weaving erratically in and out of traffic on his bicycle.
The prosecutor said that Biunno’s passenger, who is much bigger than Flores, got out of the car and began to fight with the shorter Flores. Biunno also got out of the car, then went back to the car and got a .380 Glock handgun and shot Flores twice in the back.
Biunno, his passenger and Biunno’s girlfriend got back in the car and sped away. A witness ended up calling 911. Biunno was arrested two days later at a Mohave Valley convenience store. Biunno’s car was found hidden in his girlfriend’s garage.
Biunno’s attorney, Jake Baldridge, argued that the shooting was a justification defense. Flores’ blood alcohol level was tested at 0.235 percent and he had drugs in his system.
When Biunno saw Flores put his friend in the headlock, the defendant saw his friend’s face turning purple. Unable to break up the fight, Biunno became scared, grabbed the gun and stopped the attack on his friend, the defense attorney argued.