Attorney For Border Patrol Agent In Fatal Shooting Wants To Block Witness Testimony

Published: Thursday, June 1, 2017 - 9:00am

The attorney for the Border Patrol agent who shot and killed a teen in 2012 wants to stop jurors from hearing a witness testify that the shooting was unjustified.

In new court filings, attorney Sean Chapman said the question of whether border agent Lonnie Swartz had reason to shoot Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez through a border fence, is for the jury to decide.

He said having the government’s expert witness testify to the contrary is illegal.

RELATED: Anniversary Of Teen Fatally Shot By Border Patrol Honored In Nogales

Chapman also wants the judge to limit the testimony of other law enforcement witnesses.

Hanging in the balance is whether jurors would be influenced about whether Swartz is guilty of second degree murder.

Swartz admits to the shooting. He said Elena Rodriguez was throwing rocks at him, and was at one point on the U.S. side of the border, possibly acting as a smuggler or scout.

Prosecutors said that’s legally irrelevant to the question of whether Swartz was justified in his actions.

Elena Rodriguez was found on the Sonora side of the border with 10 shots in his back.

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