Analiza Gobaton was on her way to her Sacred Heart Catholic School on Friday morning in October 2010 to watch her children get awarded for making honor roll.
But she never made it. The reason: She was struck in the head by a stray bullet and killed while sitting in traffic on Blanding Boulevard.
"In that same area of town was this man right here, this defendant, and he was mad because somebody else had interfered with his drug sale," prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda said at the trial Tuesday for 24-year-old Taurice Brown (pictured below), who's accused of firing the shot that killed the mother of three.
Investigators said Anthony Wiggins had showed up first to the drug house on Translyvania Avenue, where Vincent Mariano lived. When Brown arrived, prosecutors say, he was angry and showed it.
"He just reached in the car and pulled out the gun and pointed it at Mr. Wiggins' car or at him and started firing multiple shots," Mariano testified.
He described the number of shots fired as "too many of them" to count.
There were at least 14 shots, according to prosecutors. They say Brown followed Wiggins' car racing toward Blanding Boulevard.
"In the process of trying to murder that person, Anthony Wiggins, this innocent 41-year-old lady was shot in the head as she was stuck in traffic at the intersection of Blanding and Translyvania," de la Rionda said.
The shot to the head caused Gobaton to crash her SUV into a Lincoln Navigator that rear-ended a Ford F-250 pickup truck driven by James Dodgen. He ran out to check on the other drivers and found Gobaton bleeding.
"Her head was bleeding pretty bad," Dodgen said in court. "I went back to my truck and grabbed a clean rag to help slow the bleeding, and I stayed there until rescue got there."
Rescue rushed Gobaton to the hospital, but she died two days later.
Her death was all over $40 or $50 of crack cocaine, prosecutors said.
Defense lawyers say Brown is innocent and that he hit the ground for cover during the shooting while trying to protect himself from Wiggins' weapon. They say Brown didn't even have a gun.
"He didn't fire his weapon. There's no weapon, first of all," defense attorney Michael Bateh said.