http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/10/09/BAO9SMV13.DTL Vallejo man on trial for torching two boys in attack on ex-girlfriend Henry K. Lee, Chronicle Staff Writer Tuesday, October 9, 2007 (10-09) 15:18 PDT MARTINEZ - A Vallejo man set his ex-girlfriend on fire while driving on an East Bay freeway in 2003, severely burning her and killing her two children, after telling them they'd be buying toys for Christmas, a prosecutor told jurors today. Mark Anthony Fregia, 39, could be sentenced to death if convicted of two counts of murder - with the special circumstances of mayhem, multiple murders and kidnapping - along with several other charges in connection with events that killed his ex-girlfriend's son, 6-year-old Devlin Weaver, and the couple's son, Daelin Fregia, 2. The mayhem charges were lodged because Fregia's ex-girlfriend, Erin Weaver, was permanently disfigured when Fregia set her ablaze in what authorities said was a jealous rage over her new relationship with another man. But Deputy Public Defender David Headley, Fregia's attorney, told jurors that his client, a crack-cocaine abuser, never intended to kill anyone and simply had wanted to scare Weaver. "He is not a homicidal domestic abuser," Headley said. "What he is is somebody who can't control his rage real well." The attack happened Dec. 18, 2003, when Fregia, while driving his Dodge Colt just off Interstate 80 near Pinole, doused Weaver with gas and set her on fire with two lighters, authorities said. Weaver, then 28, was burned over 80 percent of her body as she yanked the steering wheel to the Appian Way off-ramp. Motorists saw a screaming Weaver jump from the car and try to extinguish the flames engulfing her, while chasing the burning car as it rolled down an embankment, said Contra Costa County prosecutor Paul Graves. "My babies! My babies! He killed my babies!" Weaver yelled, Graves told a six-man, six-woman jury today in his opening statement in Fregia's trial in Martinez. Weaver tried to save her two sons, Graves said. "Futile at that point, maybe, but that's what parents do," he said. Weaver spent a year in a hospital - much of that time in a coma - and will testify, the prosecutor said. As the car with the boys inside burned, Fregia was trying to carjack motorists to get away, Graves said. "They saw the defendant - that man sitting right there," Graves said, pointing to Fregia. "They did not see that man attempt in any way to put out the fire." When a motorist stopped to help, Fregia forced the driver from her Ford Taurus and drove it to San Francisco, where he was arrested the next day while trying to check into a residential hotel on Turk Street, police said. Fregia coaxed Weaver into getting into his car by saying they were going toy shopping for Christmas, Graves said. Witnesses told police they had seen the couple fighting, and the car violently swerving, before it pulled off westbound I-80. The vehicle was swerving because Fregia was splashing gasoline on Weaver from a soda bottle that he had asked one of the children to get for him from underneath a car seat, Graves said. Police said there had been previous allegations of domestic violence between the couple. Authorities also said Fregia had an extensive criminal history. Graves told jurors that Fregia has never shown any remorse. But Headley countered, "He is every bit as sorry as anybody in this courtroom." The last thing he wanted was to see the children hurt, the defense attorney said. He acknowledged, however, that his client had suffered "tunnel vision" in his attempts to scare Weaver. Fregia threatened a previous girlfriend with a knife, Headley conceded, and when he was with Weaver and her children, "he had the wrong weapon and he lost control of it." He said he wasn't making any excuses for Fregia but only trying to provide an explanation for his actions. This guy is insane and his lawyer is a huge jacka$$.