Raul Rodriguez, 47, faces up to life in prison for the 2010 killing of Kelly Danaher. The trial's punishment phase, which will include further testimony, was scheduled to begin Thursday.
Rodriguez was angry about the noise coming from Danaher's home, where the family was having a birthday party for Danaher's wife and young daughter. Rodriguez went to the home and got into an argument with Danaher, a 36-year-old elementary school teacher, and two other men who were at the party.
In a 22-minute video he recorded the night of the shooting, Rodriguez can be heard telling a police dispatcher "my life is in danger now" and "these people are going to go try and kill me." He then said "I'm standing my ground here," and shot Danaher after somebody appeared to grab his camera. The two other men were wounded.
Rodriguez's reference to standing his ground is similar to the claim made by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer who is citing Florida's stand-your-ground law in his defense in the fatal February shooting of an unarmed teenager, Trayvon Martin. Rodriguez's case, however, was decided under a different kind of self-defense doctrine.
Danaher's wife, Mindy, said she cried tears of joy and sadness after the verdict was read.
"I'm just glad that he can't hurt anybody else. That's my main thing," she said outside the courtroom. "I love my husband and I miss him so much."
Rodriguez's attorneys left the courtroom without speaking to reporters. His family, who sobbed after hearing the verdict, declined to comment. His attorneys did not present any witnesses in his defense.
Jurors deliberated for about five hours after having received the case following closing arguments earlier Wednesday.
During closing arguments, prosecutor Kelli Johnson said Rodriguez started the confrontation when instead of calmly asking Danaher to turn down the music he armed himself with a handgun and a camera and proceeded to harass people at the party.
Johnson said Rodriguez lured and provoked Danaher and two other men to come out onto the street and threatened them by brandishing his gun. Rodriguez did have a concealed handgun license. She said Danaher and the two other men were unarmed and that Rodriguez's life was never in any danger. Danaher's widow had told jurors her husband was not a confrontational person.
"This is not what stand your ground is," Johnson said. "Stand your ground is something the law takes very seriously. The law makes it very clear" when the law can be used.
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