POSTED: Saturday, February 2, 2013 - 10:40pm
UPDATED: Monday, February 4, 2013 - 10:14am
It took jurors 3 hours to make a decision that would change Eric Barajas’ life forever.
Today, a jury found Barajas guilty of 2 counts of intoxication manslaughter. He hit and killed 2 pedestrians with his car, in 2009.
The victims, Angela Gonzalez and Orlando Figueroa were leaving a club that night when they illegally crossed the street on Lee Trevino and that’s when the accident happened.
Barajas’ blood alcohol level was almost 3 times the legal limit.
During the trial, defense attorneys, Theresa Caballero and Stuart Leeds argued Gonzalez and Figueroa caused their own death by stepping into traffic, and they too were very drunk.
Gonzalez was 3 times the legal limit and Orlando was almost twice the limit.
"We believe the evidence shows the pedestrians were very very intoxicated, crossing a very busy street at night, not at a crosswalk, not at a light, and they stepped into the way of traffic and our client just happened to be in that moment in time in that part of the road. Anybody would have killed them," said Theresa Caballero.
Next came a police officer, who wanted to arrest Barajas for DWI that night, but once on the stand, the officer admitted he may have had other motives for accusing Barajas of drinking and driving.
"He was actually operating under a quota where he had to make arrests for DWI or he wouldn't be able to earn overtime," said Caballero.
The jury still wasn’t convinced. Defense attorneys insist 11 jurors bullied the one they needed for a unanimous verdict against Barajas.
Eric Barajas could spend many years in prison but his attorneys say he’s thankful for the work they did.
"I told my client, I'm sorry Eric. I'm really sorry. And he said you two have nothing to be sorry for. You did a great job," said Caballero.
The sentencing phase begins on Monday. The same jurors will decide Barajas’ punishment. He faces up to 40 years in prison.