Jury convicts man in fatal shooting at Seattle university

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SEATTLE (AP) — A man prosecutors say was motivated by anger and hatred was convicted Wednesday for fatally shooting a student and wounding two others at a small private Seattle university in 2014.

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

During the shooting, student building monitor Jon Meis pepper-sprayed and tackled Ybarra as he paused to reload his shotgun, likely preventing further carnage, authorities and university officials have said.

Jurors began deliberating the case Monday afternoon following several weeks of testimony.

Ybarra showed little emotion as the verdict was read in King County Superior Court, The Seattle Times reported (http://bit.ly/2ghKMqH). He faces 88 to 111 years in prison when sentenced in January.

As he left the courtroom Wednesday, Ybarra said he wished the shooting had never happened, KIRO-TV in Seattle reported.

Ybarra had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

Defense attorney Ramona Brandes had sought 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 acknowledged that Ybarra was mentally ill but argued that the Seattle-area resident 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 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 gunman reload his shotgun, took pepper spray out of his backpack and sprayed the gunman in the face twice, KING-TV in Seattle reported.

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 testified that he was compelled by the voices of God, Lucifer and Satan to carry out a campus shooting, the Times reported. He also said he heard the voice of Eric Harris, one of two students who carried out the 1999 mass shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado.

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


Information from: The Seattle Times, http://www.seattletimes.com

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