Son Found Guilty Of Attacking OKC Police Officer
Dana Hertneky, News 9 and News9.com
OKLAHOMA CITY -- A verdict's in in the case against three family members accused of attacking an Oklahoma City police officer.
It took jurors a little over two hours to come to their verdict. Jury has ruled that Alex Mercado was guilty for attacking Police Officer Katie Lawson. The mother, Vilma Escalante was found not guilty.
"I'm thankful, she's been incarcerated for a year for something she didn't do," said Cesar Armenta, Vilma Escalante's lead attorney.
Vilma Escalante, Hector Escalante and Alex Mercado are charged with conspiracy to shoot officer Lawson following a traffic stop in August, 2010. Lawson was shot several times with an assault rifle, and was given the medal of honor for her bravery in the shooting.
Hector Escalante has already pled guilty to shooting with intent to kill.
"Hector pled guilty, he pled guilty for a reason. Unfortunately the jury didn't see it that way," said Armenta.
Lawson testified in the trial, but didn't speak with reporters immediately following the verdict.
"She sat through a week and a half of trial and now it's time for those emotions to come out," said David Prater, Oklahoma County District Attorney.
Prosecutors said they still believe all three family members worked together but won't criticize the jury for the verdict.
"Katie Lawson is a hero and no matter what this jury said we know that," said Prater.
In closing arguments prosecutors argued Mercado, his mother Vilma Escalate and brother Hector Escalate all planned the crime in order to prevent Vilma's husband, Hector Mercado, from being deported. Mercado was arrested in the traffic stop that Officer Lawson was assisting on.
Defense attorneys maintain Hector Escalate acted alone. Escalate took the stand Tuesday morning and told jurors his family members had nothing to do with the shooting.
Lawson was shot several times with an assault rifle, and was given the medal of honor for her bravery in the shooting.
Last month, Hector Escalante pleaded guilty to shooting with intent to kill and possession of a firearm.
He will be sentenced for that crime in November.