Jurors convicted Mark Fregia, 39, today of the first-degree murder of 6-year-old Devlin Weaver and 2-year-old Daelin Fregia after he set them and their mother on fire inside a car on a freeway in Pinole in 2003.
After deliberating for about four and a half days, the six-woman, six-man jury also found true the special circumstance charges that Fregia killed the two children while engaged in kidnapping and mayhem and that he committed multiple murders, charges that qualify him for the death penalty.
Jurors found Fregia not guilty of the attempted murder of his former girlfriend Erin Weaver, 31, but instead convicted him of the lesser charge of attempted voluntary manslaughter.
They did, however, find true that he inflicted great bodily injury on Weaver, who suffered burns to 85 percent of her body and is permanently disfigured.
They also found him guilty of arson with the use of an accelerant causing great bodily injury, aggravated mayhem, kidnapping and carjacking.
The charges all stem from the Dec. 18, 2003 incident that began when Fregia persuaded Weaver to bring Devlin, her daughter from a previous relationship, and Daelin, Weaver and Fregia's son, with her to go Christmas shopping at Toys 'R' Us in Vallejo, according to Prosecutor Paul Graves. The couple had recently broken up and Fregia had just found out the Weaver had a new boyfriend.
Instead of taking them to the toy store, Fregia began driving in the opposite direction and got onto to Interstate Highway 80. As they approached the Appian Way exit in Pinole, Fregia allegedly asked Devlin to pass him his soda from under the seat, according to Weaver, who testified during the trial.
The soda bottle was filled with gasoline. Fregia began pouring the gasoline on Weaver as he continued down the freeway. He then set her on fire.
Weaver said she yanked the steering wheel to crash the car and both adults got out and tried to put out the flames on their clothing.
Meanwhile, the car, which was also on fire, rolled down the embankment with the two children trapped inside.
Weaver said she tried to rescue her children, but got to the car too late. Fregia, who also claimed during his trial testimony that he tried to save the children, then carjacked someone who stopped to help and fled the scene. He was arrested the next day in San Francisco.
The penalty phase of trial is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday in Department 4 in Contra Costa County Superior Court in Martinez.