TUCSON – The retrial of U.S. Border Patrol agent Lonnie Swartz is underway. Swartz is accused of shooting and killing a Mexican teenager in a cross-border shooting.
Opening statements for both the prosecution and defense were laid out on Wednesday. Swartz is facing manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter charges.
The cross-border shooting happened back in Oct. 2012. In this incident, several border patrol agents responded to reports of drug smugglers attempting to climb over the border fence in Nogales.
Agents responding said rocks were being thrown at them, even hitting a border patrol K-9.
Swartz’s attorney said in court that agents are trained to defend themselves and that rocks are perfectly capable of injuring an agent. Swartz shot through the border fence 16 times, resulting in the death 16-year-old Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez.
He was tried back in August but was acquitted of second-degree murder for the death of Rodriguez.
In court Wednesday, the jury saw video surveillance of the shooting and heard the radio calls from Border Patrol agents.
The prosecution said Swartz was fed up and could have retreated instead of shooting Rodriguez 10 times.
The defense said Rodriguez was throwing rocks to distract the agents and give smugglers a chance to get through with what he says would was $19,000 worth of marijuana.
Also saying Swartz had to make the split decision to defend other agents with him. Telling the jury that after the shooting Swartz vomited and cried.
In the next few days, the jury will hear testimony from other border patrol agents on-scene and hear more on the autopsy report. A report the defense says will show that Rodriguez was shot and killed instantly.