David Ross Appleton, 59, has been accused of second-degree murder in Scottsdale after he allegedly shot and killed 50-year-old Paul Thomas Pearson in a “road rage” incident. The incident took place in a pharmacy parking lot after tempers flared on the road.
According to Appleton, he sped up to make the light at the Thompson Peak Parkway and Pima Road intersection, but was blocked by Pearson's vehicle. While waiting at the light, both men rolled down their car windows and engaged in a heated argument. When the light turned green, Pearson allegedly followed Appleton. Appleton says he pulled into the parking lot in hopes that Pearson would move on, but Pearson apparently followed him to the parking lot, got out of his vehicle, and continued the argument. Appleton had a firearm in the car, which he grabbed when the scuffle started to get physical. Appleton says that Pearson grabbed his wrist and started choking him. Appleton then shot Pearson in the chest.
Whether this was clear self-defense or something else is still up in the air. Police are having trouble finding evidence that the incident played out according to Appleton's claims. They have been unable to find any physical evidence of bodily harm to Appleton, except that a fingernail was torn, and it is unclear why Appleton didn't drive away when Pearson exited his vehicle. Additionally, Appleton has a history of reporting road rage at least twice in the last year. In one case he told the dispatcher he was going to pull his gun, and in the other incident he was actually found to be the aggressor.
The Arizona criminal defense lawyers with Curry, Pearson & Wooten represent Arizona residents who have been charged with weapons offenses, violent crimes, and traffic offenses. We are here to defend your rights and help you navigate the legal system when things get complicated.