After 6 years of struggle family of teen killed by Border Patrol agent back in 2012 received a blow after a jury acquits Border Patrol agent Lonnie Swartz of involuntary manslaughter.
43-years-old, Lonnie Swartz, was acquitted by a federal jury in Tucson after two days of deliberations in the death of 16-year-old Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez.
The jury didn't fill out the verdict form on a voluntary manslaughter charge, so prosecutors are arguing Swartz could be tried again, but defence attorneys say otherwise. Involuntary manslaughter is the lesser of the two charges the jury considered. The judge set a status conference for Dec. 11.
Swartz was behind the fence that separates Nogales, Arizona, from Nogales, Sonora, when he fired 16 rounds in 34 seconds, hitting Elena Rodriguez 10 times in the back and head. Swartz said he fired in self-defence after rocks were thrown at him and other agents.
Lonnie Swartz, was indicted by a U.S. grand jury for second-degree murder in September 2015 for unlawfully shooting the teen, but while Swartz's trial was originally slated to begin in November that year, a series of delays, motions and hearing have dragged the process out to March 2018, leaving the family frustrated and disappointed.
Wednesday’s verdict came simultaneously with the president decided to give U.S. troops authority to protect immigration agents stationed along the U.S. border with Mexico if they come under threat from migrants seeking to cross into the United States.
Swartz was dismissed from his position without pay from the Border Patrol while facing the criminal charges.