Federal prosecutors will consider whether to retry Border Patrol agent Lonnie Swartz on lesser charges after a jury acquitted him Monday of second-degree murder in the 2012 death of a Mexican teen.
“We are very disappointed for the family, for the victim and for the community,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Wallace Kleindienst outside the federal courtroom in Tucson after the verdict, which was followed by protests that blocked downtown streets into the night.
After nearly five days of deliberations, the jury of eight women and four men also told the judge it was hopelessly deadlocked on the two less-serious charges it was considering against Swartz, voluntary manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter.
Kleindienst said prosecutors will assess what was going through the jurors’ minds before deciding whether to retry Swartz on the manslaughter charges.
“It’s too soon to tell,” he said. “We all might be back here again.”
Swartz was charged in the October 2012 killing of 16-year-old Jose Antonio Elena Rodríguez of Nogales, Sonora. The agent is accused of firing 16 shots through the Nogales border fence in response to a group of rock throwers, including Elena Rodríguez, who was hit eight times in the back and twice in the head.
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