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Defendant faints as guilty verdicts read in murder-for-hire plot

VISTA, Calif. — A jury's verdict was interrupted Monday when the defendant fainted after being found guilty on counts of conspiracy to commit murder and attempted murder, PIX11's sister station KSWB reports.

Diana Lovejoy, 45, and Weldon McDavid Jr., 50, are charged with conspiracy to commit murder and attempted murder in the attack on Lovejoy's estranged husband Greg Mulvihill.

Lovejoy fainted after she was found guilty of two counts and McDavid was found guilty of the conspiracy charge. At that point, the judge recessed the proceedings.

When court reconvened about 30 minutes later, Lovejoy was no longer at the defendants' table. The court reporter continued reading the jury's verdict. McDavid was also found guilty of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon. The defendant wept openly as his verdict was read.

Diana Lovejoy faints as the jury reads a guilty verdict, convicting her of conspiring to kill her estranged husband. (KSWB)

Jurors deliberated parts of two days before convicting Lovejoy, 45, and Weldon McDavid Jr., 50, who face 25 years to life and 50 years to life in prison, respectively, when sentenced Dec. 12.

Prosecutor Jodi Breton told jurors that Mulvihill received a call just before 11 p.m on Sept. 1, 2016, from a person claiming to be a private investigator, who supposedly had information on his estranged wife.

The caller instructed Mulvihill to go to a dirt road where he could pick up a package containing materials pertaining to Lovejoy, according to the prosecutor. Mulvihill and a co-worker, Jason Kovach, drove to the area and used a flashlight to look for a package taped to a power pole.

Kovach testified that they saw some rustling in the bushes, then noticed what looked like a person lying in a prone position with a rifle pointed at them. The witness said shots rang out, and he and a wounded Mulvihill took off running.

Breton said Mulvihill, 45, was trying to reclaim his life after Lovejoy had made claims that he had molested their young son and sexually abused her. The couple had been separated since July 2014 and were in the final stages of completing their divorce.

Greg Mulvihill (L), Weldon McDavid Jr. (C) and Diana Lovejoy (R)

Carlsbad police determined that the phone used to call Mulvihill was purchased by Lovejoy, and feces found in the bushes at the scene of the shooting were traced to McDavid, the prosecutor said.

Investigators found a multitude of guns and a silencer in McDavid's garage, and a "blast bag" containing seven spent shell casings, Breton told the jury.

McDavid's attorney, Ricky Crawford, said his client was a trained marksman and former Marine who fired his rifle only after he heard someone yell "I have a gun!"

"If Weldon McDavid wanted to kill someone with his skill set, he would have done so," Crawford told the jury. "That was not his intent."

Crawford said Lovejoy -- whom he met when she took shooting lessons at a gun range where he worked -- told him that she had been trying for years to get someone to do something about her estranged husband allegedly abusing their child.

Brad Patton, Lovejoy's attorney, said his client had taken out a temporary restraining order against Mulvihill because she claimed he was abusing her and their son.

After the restraining order elapsed, Lovejoy still had concerns about her estranged husband but "at no time was there a discussion (or) conspiracy to murder her husband," Patton told the jury.