Prosecutor: Man in US illegally meant to kill deputies
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A man who came to the U.S. illegally had “nothing but hate” when he killed two California sheriff’s deputies, prosecutors said in closing arguments Thursday in a case that has helped fuel the national debate on immigration.
Authorities say defendant Luis Bracamontes intentionally shot Sacramento County Deputy Danny Oliver in 2014 then killed Placer County Detective Michael Davis Jr. hours later.
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Bracamontes, who has repeatedly blurted out in court that he killed the deputies and wished he had killed more.
He sat quietly during closing arguments, The Sacramento Bee reported , in contrast to the outbursts that repeatedly led Judge Steve White to bar him from the courtroom.
Defense attorneys said Bracamontes should be spared because he is mentally ill and was high on methamphetamine at the time.
Public defender Norm Dawson told jurors it’s “a tragic fact” that his client shot both deputies.
“Mr. Bracamontes clearly was not in his right mind,” Dawson said. “His mind was altered.”
But the judge found Bracamontes is competent to stand trial, and Bracamontes refused to enter a not guilty plea by reason of insanity.
“This is nothing but willful conduct from start to finish,” Placer County prosecutor Dave Tellman argued. “He had the intent to kill.”
A separate jury is considering if Bracamontes’ wife, Janelle Monroy, helped in the slayings. The deputies were killed shortly after the couple arrived in Sacramento from Utah.
Bracamontes is a Mexican citizen who repeatedly entered the United States illegally. His wife is an American citizen.
A 30-second TV ad aired last month by President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign featured Bracamontes and accused Democrats of being “complicit” in the slayings of law enforcement officers by people in the U.S. illegally.
It was released on the anniversary of Trump’s inauguration and amid a government shutdown sparked by Democrats’ refusal to support a spending plan unless Republicans agreed to protect some 700,000 immigrants from deportation after they were brought to the country as children.
Tellman noted that Bracamontes has made repeated threats against deputies and others since his arrest.
“This is unadulterated hate,” Tellman said.