SANTA ANA, Calif. -- The only man ever killed at Disneyland had been drinking heavily and accidentally threw himself on a knife while attacking his accused killer, a jury was told Tuesday.
James O'Driscoll, 29, an unemployed San Diego man, is charged with the stabbing death of Mel C. Yorba, 18, of Riverside, while Yorba was attending a Rohr Corp. picnic at the amusement park with his parents March 7, 1981.
O'Driscoll's attorney, Alan E. Olsen, and the prosecutor, Deputy District Attorney Pat Geary, agreed Yorba was stabbed to death during a confrontation between the two men between the Matterhorn and the submarine rides.
The altercation apparently was provoked by a real or imagined pinch or fondle involving O'Driscoll's girlfriend, Julie Holdener, the attorneys said. O'Driscoll has since married Miss Holdener.
Geary contended O'Driscoll stabbed Yorba in the chest with a knife, then fled the scene, pausing at the Sleeping Beauty Castle to toss the knife into the moat. His blood-soaked shirt was found in a women's restroom trashcan, Geary said.
O'Driscoll then ran to the embankment of the Adventureland Railroad where, Geary said, 'he was captured, curled in a fetal position.'
But O'Driscoll's attorney contested Geary's version, saying what happened after the altercation was unclear.
'I will not deny O'Driscoll was found at Disneyland with Yorba's blood all over him,' Olsen said, 'But I will prove that he is innocent of the charge of murder.'
Olsen said he would prove that Yorba had been drinking heavily throughout the day and accidentally threw himself on O'Driscoll's knife while attacking him.
Yorba's parents have sued Disneyland for $60 million, charging the park provided insufficient emergency care and was in part responsible for their son's death.