Whereupon he shot five bullets at the suspect from his .38-caliber Smith & Wesson snubnose revolver, hitting the burglar three times in the abdomen. A scuffle ensued between the wounded men.
"Then he took the gun and put it to my head — click!" said Leone, who knew there were no bullets left in the gun. "And that was the end of that. He ran away."
Leone testified at the preliminary hearing of the suspect, Samuel Joseph Cutrufelli, who is charged with attempted murder, burglary, robbery and firearms offenses by a felon. After the hearing, Judge Paul Haakenson will decide whether there is sufficient evidence to hold a trial.
he shooting occurred at about 10:45 a.m. Jan. 3 at Leone's home on Via La Cumbre. Police said Cutrufelli entered the home, detained Leone at gunpoint and searched the residence for property.
After the gunbattle, Leone called 911 from his house, and Cutrufelli called 911 after stopping his car just over the San Rafael border. Cutrufelli, a 30-year-old Novato resident, said he had shot himself and needed medical attention, according to Twin Cities police.
Leone testified energetically, despite having been shot in the face just weeks ago. With his head shaved and a bandage on his left cheek, he described how the bullet entered his jaw area and exited the back of his neck, avoiding a fatal wound but eventually leading to a jaw infection, pneumonia and a breathing tube.
Under questioning from prosecutor Dorothy Chou Proudfoot, Leone described how the burglar entered his home, held a gun to his head and said there was a "contract out" on him.
"I said, 'How could there be a contract out on me?'" Leone said. "He said, 'I understand you're the guy with all the expensive cars.'"
While Leone had collected 1970s-era cars in the past, he had only a 1996 Mitsubishi and a 2005 Ford in his garage at the time. Then the burglar led him at gunpoint to the bedroom, which he allegedly ransacked for valuables while Leone sat on the bed.
Leone said he concocted a plan: He said he needed to use the bathroom, which is where his five guns were hidden. When the burglar refused, Leone pulled his pants down and said he would defecate on the spot.
The burglar let him leave for the bathroom but would not let him close the door, Leone said.
"I said, 'Do you like to watch people take a s—-?'" Leone testified. The burglar let him close the door, and Leone went for his Smith & Wesson snubnose.
Cutrufelli spent nine days at Marin General Hospital before he was well enough to be booked into jail. His public defender, Kathleen Boyle, has filed a motion to dismiss the charges, saying Cutrufelli was denied access to a lawyer while he was in the hospital, and the crime scene was contaminated in the interim.
The motion to dismiss is scheduled to be heard by Judge Andrew Sweet on March 15.
Outside the courtroom, Leone, a fitness buff and former member of the sheriff's air patrol, said he would like to go another round with Cutrufelli, perhaps in a classic duel at three paces.
"The doctor says I'm healing well," Leone said. "He said, 'For some reason, it didn't kill you.'"