VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — A jury has convicted an Oregon man of murder in the fatal shooting of a sheriff’s deputy in Washington state.
The Clark County Superior Court jury found 28-year-old Guillermo Raya Leon guilty Tuesday of aggravated first-degree murder in the death of Clark County sheriff’s Sgt. Jeremy Brown, The Columbian reported.
Raya Leon was also convicted on charges of trafficking in stolen property, burglary, theft of a motor vehicle and two counts of having a stolen gun. The jury also found in favor of the aggravating factor that Raya Leon knew Brown was a law enforcement officer, along with a firearm enhancement on four of the counts.
Aggravated murder carries a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison. Raya Leon's sentencing was set for early October.
Brown was shot on July 23, 2021, as he was doing surveillance in his unmarked SUV at an east Vancouver apartment complex. Law enforcement officers were investigating Raya Leon, his brother and his brother’s wife in a case described by prosecutors as a conspiracy to steal dozens of firearms and thousands of ammunition rounds from a storage unit and then sell them.
Defense attorney Therese Lavallee in court said Raya Leon did not intend to shoot Brown. Prosecutors said Raya Leon knew Brown was a law enforcement officer and that Raya Leon thought things over before confronting the detective and shooting him from behind.
After the verdict, Lavallee said she respected the jury's decision.
A jury in August convicted Raya Leon’s brother, Abran Raya Leon, of second-degree murder, possession of a stolen firearm and first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm. He was the getaway driver in the shooting, and a judge sentenced him to 27 years in prison.
Misty Raya, who is married to Abran Raya Leon and is accused of initiating the firearms trafficking scheme, has pleaded not guilty to multiple charges and is scheduled for trial next month.