August 23, 2018

Border Agent's Lawyers Want Manslaughter Trial Moved From Tucson

Lawyers for Lonnie Swartz, who killed a Mexican teen through the border fence, say the jury pool is "poisoned" by influence makers.

Lonnie Swartz  Border Patrol agent Lonnie Swartz, right, walks into federal courthouse with his attorney, April 2018. (PHOTO: AZPM Staff)

TUCSON — A Border Patrol agent who shot through the border fence, killing a teenage boy in Mexico, wants his upcoming manslaughter trial moved from Tucson to Phoenix.

Lawyers for Lonnie Swartz argued in court Wednesday that the agent won’t get a fair trial in Tucson. They pointed to news articles they say are sympathetic to the dead teenager and said the examples “conclusively demonstrate that the jury pool in Southern Arizona is getting increasingly poisoned by many influence makers.”

They said the only desirable to those influence makers would be Swartz’s conviction. They said coverage is less intense in Phoenix.

Swartz was originally charged with second-degree murder after killing Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez in 2012. He was found not guilty, so prosecutors are retrying him on manslaughter charges.

Fronteras Desk
This story is from the Fronteras Desk, a collaboration of Southwestern public radio stations, including NPR 89.1. Read more from the Fronteras Desk.
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