A U.S. Border Patrol agent was acquitted of involuntary manslaughter on Wednesday in the shooting death of a Mexican teenager through a border fence, marking another defeat for federal prosecutors in the second trial over the 2012 killing.
Lonnie Swartz, 43, was acquitted by a federal jury in Tucson after two days of deliberations in the death of 16-year-old Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez.
Swartz had been acquitted of a second-degree murder charge in April, but the jury remained deadlocked on two other charges, requiring a second trial that began in October.
Jurors on Wednesday refused to make a decision on the higher charge of voluntary manslaughter against Swartz, opening the possibility prosecutors could pursue that charge in a third trial.
Outside of the court, the boy’s family said they would continue to push their case by pursuing a civil lawsuit and by asking the Mexican government to intervene.
Swartz was standing on an embankment about 14 feet (4.27 m)above Elena Rodriguez and behind the 22-foot-high metal fence that separates Nogales, Arizona, from Nogales, Sonora, when he fired 16 shots in 34 seconds, hitting Elena Rodriguez 10 times in the back and head. Swartz said he fired in self-defense after rocks were thrown at him and other agents.
The trial was a rare prosecution against a U.S. Border Patrol agent for using deadly force. The last such case in 2008 ended with the dismissal of charges.
Wednesday’s verdict came as President Donald Trump was considering giving 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.
Trump made his hard-line policies toward immigration a key issue ahead of midterm elections earlier this month.
Swartz has been on leave without pay from the Border Patrol while facing the criminal charges.
Reporting by Paul Ingram in Tucson; writing by Andrew Hay; editing by Bill Tarrant and Leslie Adler
Lev Parnas’s lawyer declared ‘open war’ on AG Bill Barr during Maddow interview: attorney
The attorney for Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas appears to be using a novel legal strategy, attorney Luppe Luppen explained on Friday.
Joseph Bondy, the attorney for Parnas, was interviewed Friday evening by Rachel Maddow, following the day's end of the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.
Luppen, who offers legal analysis on his popular @nycsouthpaw Twitter account, came to a conclusion that seemed to surprise him after watching the interview.
"I’ve never seen a lawyer sit on a cable panel show and make that much news," Luppen wrote.
Democratic prosecutors wrap up case against Trump
Democratic prosecutors on Friday wrapped up three days of arguments for seeking Donald Trump's removal from office, as the US president's lawyers prepared to take their turn presenting his defense in the Senate's historic impeachment trial.
For a final eight-hour stretch, the 100 senators listened as Democrats argued that Trump abused the power of the presidency in pressuring Ukraine to launch investigations that would help him politically and then sought to block efforts by Congress to investigate.
Democrats said they had met the burden of proof as they warned Republicans that Trump would remain a grave danger to the nation if left in office.
‘Give me a break’: Internet unleashes on ‘snowflakes’ Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski for complaint about Schiff
CNN's Manu Raju revealed after the Senate adjourned that Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) audibly disputed Rep. Adam Schiff's (D-CA) quotation of a CBS News report threatening senators.
"She shook her head and said, 'No they didn't. No, that's not true,'" Raju reported.
Sens. Tom Cotton (R-AR), Jim Risch (R-ID) Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and John Barrasso also said that the report was false.