ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The jury has reached a verdict for the third suspect accused in the 2015 shooting death of a Manzano High School student.
On Tuesday, family of the gunman and the victim filled the courtroom for the verdict that left both sides emotional.
A first-degree murder conviction is an automatic life in prison sentence. The killer’s attorney still insists the jury convicted an innocent man.
“I respect the jury process, although I don’t believe they reached the correct verdict in this case,” defense attorney Daniel Salazar said.
June 26, 2015, Jaydon Chavez-Silver was at a party in northeast Albuquerque, sitting in the kitchen, when he was shot and killed by a bullet fired into the house.
On Tuesday, the triggerman, Esias Madrid, was convicted of first-degree murder. Family and friends who sat behind Madrid were stunned.
“Obviously they don’t believe that Esias should have been convicted. Esias has always maintained his innocence,” Salazar said.
In court, Chavez-Silver’s family embraced each other as the accused killer became a convicted killer.
“I can’t explain to you the journey of just going through the trial process. You know, trying to fight for Jaydon’s justice,” Nicole Chavez, Jaydon’s mother, said.
Police said Madrid and two others went to the house party that night to get revenge on someone there. Chavez-Silver was an innocent bystander and the only one hit.
“It was really hard to go through the trial. It was hard to see pictures. Picture of my baby and I knew he wasn’t alive. That was hard,” Chavez said.
Chavez-Silver’s family said they are relieved the jury found Madrid guilty, but it was a bittersweet victory.
“You don’t know if you should smile or cry because our son is still not here and nothing will bring him back. It’s a huge piece to let him rest in peace and I think he was looking out for us,” Jaydon Chavez-Silver’s dad said.
Judge Jacqueline Flores declared a mistrial on the lesser charges. It will be up to the District Attorney to re-try him on those charges.
Madrid is currently serving 16 years for shooting and killing another teen after a dispute over beer pong. That was six months after Jaydon Chavez-Silver’s murder.
He will be sentenced to life in prison for Tuesday’s verdict in November.