A Texas man who shot and killed another man in a marijuana robbery was convicted Wednesday of first-degree murder.
Michael Jones, 20, will spend the rest of his life in prison as a result of the conviction. He was also convicted on three counts of robbery, three counts of menacing with a deadly weapon and tampering with physical evidence.
A seven-day trial began Aug. 13 in 6th Judicial District Court and concluded Tuesday with closing arguments. The trial was overseen by District Judge William Herringer. A 12-person jury began deliberating about 11:15 a.m. Tuesday and reached its verdict about 10 a.m. Wednesday.
Jones fired the gun that killed David Gaytan, 34, on May 14, 2017, in the Lightner Creek Mobile Home Park, 907 County Road 207 (Lightner Creek Road), a few miles west of Durango.
Jones, along with two co-defendants – Kevin Goff, 27, and Alysse Rios, 19 – set up an illegal marijuana transaction and intended to rob the people of the marijuana rather than purchase it, according to prosecutors.
Goff and Jones were inside the home during the robbery, while Rios waited in a black sedan with the engine running in the driveway, according to police and prosecutors. Jones pointed a gun at those inside the home and demanded the victims empty their pockets and hand over their wallets. At some point, Gaytan lunged toward Jones, and Jones fired his weapon, hitting Gaytan in the chest.
Rios is scheduled to be sentenced for her role in the crime Nov. 7. Goff is scheduled for a jury trial to begin Oct. 22.
Public defense lawyers said there wasn’t sufficient evidence to convict Jones of first-degree murder, saying it is unclear what happened in the trailer.
But prosecutors said it was a planned robbery, and Jones brought a loaded weapon to a drug deal, pointed the gun at his suspects and ultimately pulled the trigger.
District Attorney Christian Champagne said he is proud of hard work prosecutors and law enforcement put into the case.
“We’re obviously pleased with the results and doing justice on behalf of the victim and his family and the community,” he said.
A formal sentencing hearing is set for 3 p.m. Oct. 12.