LAWTON, Okla._It's a guilty verdict in the Jimmy Nazario murder trial.
A Comanche County jury deliberated for five hours Wednesday before convicting him of second degree murder. Wednesday's closing statements gave an overview of key testimony and evidence presented over the past three days. The defense diligently worked to paint Nazario as the victim who acted in self-defense when he fired two shots, killing Ervin Manigault outside a west Lawton apartment complex back in 2011.
The defense said the victim made the first move when he verbally confronted Nazario but the state said that wasn't enough to argue self-defense since the act of speaking, threatening or not, does not make a person the aggressor.
Both families involved were emotional following the results of the trial that took everyone back to a night that forever changed their lives.
"Everyday is like a stab in your heart bringing back what you already went through," that's how the victim's father Ervin Manigault Sr. described the last three days in court.
Wednesday's closing statements by the state walked the jury back through the two days of testimony that confirmed that Nazario was walking with two other men and a woman that December night. Manigault's friend, Kenesha Plumber called him to tell the people they suspected to be tagging the apartments with gang related graffiti were on their way. Manigault was on the phone telling the apartment complex's security what was happening only minutes before the quick confrontation and fatal shots.
"This was a needless killing. I think that Ervin Manigault may have been under the influence of alcohol and he approached these people and wanted to ask them about the tagging of the building. It was no intent on his part to do anymore than that," said Assistant District Attorney Eddie Valdez.
The defense claimed that it happened so fast that Nazario acted in self-defense out of fear for his life. Nazario's attorney told the jury that he had no choice but to fire the two shots but ADA Valdez disagrees, "It shouldn't be self-defense in this case because not one person ever saw a weapon on Ervin. As soon as the shooting happened, they took off running. They hid the gun. We still have not found the gun. I don't think that it's self defense, I think that it was a mean act on their part to kill Ervin."
And as the guilty verdict was read, Manigault's father said he was relieved that his son's killer would have to pay for his actions. But in reality no one won today.
"I felt like justice was served, which is not going to bring him back. We both had a loss. I lost my son and pretty much their son got taken away for awhile. There is no good feeling," said Ervin Manigault Sr.
The jury suggested that Nazario be sentenced to 25 years in prison. He will be sentenced on April 8th.