EL PASO, Texas - Johnny Gonzalez has been found guilty of murder - a lesser charge than that of capital murder. The sentencing phase of the trial will begin Tuesday at 8:30 a.m., and Gonzalez faces 5-99 years. The jury deliberated for about five hours after hearing closing arguments earlier Monday.
Gonzalez is the teenager accused of the 2012 beating death of off-duty El Paso Police Officer Jonathan Molina.
Both attorneys went back and forth in the packed courtroom, with the prosecution arguing that the testimony of Gonzalez and his friends was different from what they said to police in 2012. Prosecutor Denise Butterworth also argued that Molina was supposed to confront the teens, before he died on Sept. 25 of that year.
The defense in turn argued that it was just Gonzalez protecting his friends from an apparent bully that day where things went horribly wrong.
Butterworth argued that Molina was doing his duty as a police officer, and that in pursuing Gonzalez and his friends, "(Molina)'s not playing the Rambo cop card. Think about it. He doesn't take his gun out. He doesn't shout 'Police! Get on the ground!'...He wants to know why, why did they scratch his car?"
But defense attorney Ruben Morales argued that Molina was an aggressor, who Gonzalez wasn't sure was actually a cop, and that Molina said, "Do you know who I am? Do you know what I can do to you?" to the three boys.