Man Found Guilty In Fatal Shooting At Seattle University

SEATTLE  – A jury on Wednesday convicted a man for fatally shooting a student and wounding two others at a small private Seattle university in 2014.

The King County jury found Aaron Ybarra guilty of first-degree murder, three counts of attempted murder and one account assault for the attack at Seattle Pacific University that killed 19-year-old Paul Lee, of Portland, Oregon.

He had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. Jurors began deliberating the case Monday afternoon following several weeks of testimony and rejected Ybarra’s insanity defense.

Defense attorney Ramona Brandes had sought at trial to show that Ybarra suffered from a debilitating mental illness and limited intellectual function and that he believed God was directing him to shoot.

Prosecutors had argued the crime was premeditated and that Ybarra knew what he did was wrong.

King County Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Kristin Richardson told jurors during closing arguments that Ybarra didn’t mention God, Satan or Lucifer directing him to carry out the rampage until months after the shootings.

The trial, which began Oct. 10, included testimony from Ybarra as well as student and safety monitor Jon Meis, who was hailed as a hero for taking down the gunman during the June 5, 2014, shooting.

Meis testified at trial that he waited to hear the shooter reload his shotgun, took pepper spray out of his backpack and sprayed the gunman in the face twice. Surveillance video showed Meis wrestling the shotgun away, stashing it in an office and returning to tackle Ybarra again as Ybarra struggles to pull a knife.

Ybarra also testified over two days and told jurors he was compelled by the voices of God, Lucifer and Satan to carry out a campus shooting, The Seattle Times reported. He also said he identified with Eric Harris, one of two student gunmen responsible for the mass shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado in 1999.

Jurors also took a short field trip to the campus hall where the shooting occurred.

On the second day of deliberations, jurors asked to see the police video of Ybarra’s interrogation, KING-TV in Seattle reported.

 

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press.

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