ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The man who shot and killed a driver at the Big-I for no apparent reason, is now on trial. Donald Duquette is facing life in prison for what police say was a meth-fueled crime.

Prosecutors told the jury that Donald Duquette knew exactly what he was doing when he shot at Jose Diaz’s pickup truck three and a half years ago. Lawrence Hansen said, “Defendant shot a 45 caliber handgun at a pickup truck, which would be driven by Mr. Diaz. The truck was struck several times. Mr. Diaz was struck in the head by one of the shots with the bullet passing through his head and brain resulting in his death.”

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But Duquette’s lawyer is arguing he acted in self-defense. “When Mr. Diaz used his truck as a weapon on this fateful night, Donald reacted with the basic, sacred human right to defend himself. Donald acted in self-defense,” said Raymond Maestas.

Police say in 2019, Donald Duquette turned himself in and admitted to shooting and killing Jose Diaz in a truck on an I-40 flyover at the Big-I. Diaz worked for PG Enterprises, a granite company.

Duquette told officers he had smoked meth and pot the night before. His defense attorney painted Duquette as an emotional person who worked as a paramedic for 10 years. Maestas told the jury Duquette struggles with PTSD and he thought Diaz was following him and pointing a gun at him. “Donald thought what he saw was a gun from Mr. Diaz,” Maestas said.

But prosecutor Lawrence Hansen said that isn’t possible. He told the jury, “You will learn that a firearm was not located in Mr. Diaz’s truck. You will also learn there were no fired parcel casings located in Mr. Diaz’s truck.”

Tuesday afternoon, the state started to call its witnesses to testify including one of the first responding officers and the sergeant who spoke to Duquette when he turned himself in. 

The trial is expected to last two weeks. Duquette is charged with first-degree murder and shooting at or from a vehicle.