110918 jonathan highley

Jonathan Highley is on trial at the Santa Maria Superior Court on charges of murder and gun enhancements following the fatal shooting of Anthony San Juan, 43, outside Elmer's bar in Orcutt in the early morning hours of March 4, 2017.

Anthony San Juan was most likely crawling on his hands and knees in the gravel parking lot of Elmer's bar in Orcutt, turned to look up at Jonathan Highley standing over him, and was shot in the head, according to autopsy results revealed Thursday at Santa Maria Superior Court.

Highley, 36, is on trial for murder in the shooting of San Juan, 43, who died from a perforated gunshot wound to the head. Prior to the shooting, Highley was reportedly drunk and involved in three different physical altercations at the bar before he left for his 114 Park Ave. apartment located behind the bar, and came out with a gun in his hand, according to witnesses.

Four men -- San Juan, Michael Hernandez, Assael Lopez and Alex Ortiz -- reportedly followed Highley toward his apartment when he left the bar, but fled when they heard him coming out with the gun.

San Juan was the only one who ran toward the Orcutt bar, however, where he was fatally shot, according to testimony. 

San Juan had a 0.32 blood alcohol content level at the time of his death, according to the medical report. 

As the prosecution concluded its presentation of evidence Thursday, jurors were shown photos of San Juan's injuries and the perforated gunshot wound to his head.

The San Juan family, including his parents, uncle and wife, Sara San Juan, have been present for each of Highley's court hearings since March 2017, including the ongoing trial that began Oct. 23, listening to witnesses, criminalists and experts. 

On Thursday, however, just minutes before photos of San Juan's body were projected onto the screen for the jury, his wife walked out of the courtroom while the rest of his family stayed behind.

None of them looked up as photos from San Juan's autopsy were flashed on the courtroom screen. 

The photos showed San Juan had dirt and gravel impressions on his hands, bloody scrapes and contusions on his knees and elbows, which indicated that he was crawling on pavement when the bullet struck his skull, according to forensic pathologist Dr. Manuel Montez.

The bullet, allegedly fired by Highley's Glock 17, entered San Juan's skull from the left and exited to the right, which meant the shooter had to have been facing San Juan's left, Montez testified. 

"His body isn't necessarily facing the left," Montez added. "The gunman could be behind you and you could be turning your head to the left. The left side of his head must be facing the barrel of the gun." 

The totality of San Juan's injuries on his knees, elbows, and the trajectory of the bullet were consistent with the hypothesis that San Juan was in a crawling position and looked up behind his left shoulder as he was shot, with the gunman standing over him, Montez testified.

Testimony resumes at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday. The jury is expected to begin deliberations by late next week.

Gina Kim covers crime and courts for Santa Maria Times. Follow her on Twitter @gina_k210

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