Austin, Texas, USA: A federal jury, Thursday, found Chimene Onyeri guilty of all 17 counts in a theft and fraud case, including a racketeering charge linked to the attempted murder of Travis County State District Judge Julie Kocurek.
Onyeri, 30, will be sentenced Aug. 17 by U.S. Judge Lee Yeakel. He faces up to life in prison without parole for the judge’s shooting.
The jury deliberated for four hours over Wednesday and Thursday.
Chimene Onyeri admitted to shooting Judge Julie Kocurek in 2015 in the driveway outside her West Austin home. Kocurek was severely injured, losing a finger and suffering several other permanent injuries. However, she has returned to the bench.
During the prosecution’s questioning he told the court he felt the judge didn’t respect him during a hearing for another case.
In closing arguments, prosecutors and the defense stressed the importance of the first charge in the 17-count indictment, which accuses Onyeri of participating in a racketeering enterprise. If the jury convicts, they then can decide if the judge’s shooting is related to the enterprise. Onyeri testified that he had intended only to damage Kocurek’s car in November 2015 when he fired four rounds through the window and was surprised to learn later that the judge was in the vehicle.
But prosecutors presented a different theory for the shooting, saying that the money and benefits Onyeri received from stealing credit and debit card numbers would have dried up had Kocurek gone through with a threat to send him to prison on a probation violation.
The special sentencing allegation in the judge’s shooting carries a sentence of up to life in prison.
Onyeri also faces one count of mail fraud, two counts of wire fraud, six counts of tampering with a witness and seven counts of aggravated identity theft.