LOS ANGELES (CNS) - An ex-convict was found guilty today of trying to kill a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy in a parking lot near a Newhall apartment complex in 2017.
Jurors deliberated about 3 1/2 hours before convicting Monolito Guerra, 35, of the attempted murder of Deputy Albert White, now a sheriff's detective, who survived being shot in the neck on Nov. 28, 2017. The downtown Los Angeles jury also found Guerra guilty of a series of other charges, including the attempted murder of a man who was shot at four days earlier while driving in Northridge with a bullet landing in a 6-month-old baby's blanket inside the vehicle, along with assault with a firearm involving a woman near the Newhall apartment complex before deputies arrived at the scene, according to Deputy District Attorney Eric Siddall.
Guerra is facing a potential life prison term, with sentencing set June 21. ``He didn't want to go back to prison. He didn't want to be violated for parole,'' Siddall told jurors Monday in his closing argument. Siddall's PowerPoint presentation also depicted Guerra assaulting a jail custody assistant on an unspecified date while he was being escorted down a hallway. Guerra told the jail employee that ``he wanted to kill deputy sheriffs because of what they do,'' according to Siddall.
Defense attorney Tony McAuley had urged a complete acquittal of his client, telling jurors that the case abounds with bias and conflict of interest, in large part because the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department investigated a shooting that involved its own employees. ``We can't let our admiration and respect for deputies affect our job; we can't just say we trust the system,'' Guerra's attorney said, noting that there was an absence of any video images of the confrontation. White -- who was called as the prosecution's first witness -- testified that he heard a ``bang'' and that ``everything went pitch black.''
He added that he felt an ``instant burning sensation'' to his neck, pulled his own gun's trigger as he regained consciousness about a ``split second'' later, said he heard a second gunshot behind him and felt a sharp pain to the back. White said he subsequently saw his assailant hunched over as if he was in excruciating pain. He said he also realized blood was gushing out of his own neck. White testified he heard a barrage of gunfire, including one shot he saw fired by a fellow sheriff's deputy, and said other sheriff's deputies came to his aid as he ran from the scene. He said he was worried that if he laid down that he would never get back up again and told them that he needed to call his wife. He told jurors that he thought he was going to die.
White said he had approached a white Ford Fusion while checking a row of parked vehicles outside the apartment complex on Bottletree Lane following a 911 call from a woman who said a man had pointed a gun at her, and said he saw a sunshade propped up in the back of the car and subsequently spotted a man on the back seat of the vehicle. White said it was ``pretty dark'' at the time and that he could see the man's eyes fluttering back and forth, but didn't remember seeing his face. White said he opened one of the vehicle's back doors and ordered the suspect to freeze, and subsequently saw him tuck a revolver into his waistband.
He said he raised his face to yell at other sheriff's deputies to alert them and fixated on the weapon -- not the suspect -- when he saw it about five to six inches from his chin before the ``gun goes bang.''
``By some miracle the bullet goes through his neck and did not sever any artery,'' Siddall told jurors.
Guerra's attorney told jurors that his client is ``no saint as you all have heard -- he's been to prison,'' but said he believed every prosecution witness who testified against his client appeared to want him convicted. The District Attorney's Office concluded under Jackie Lacey's administration in 2019 that White and three other sheriff's deputies acted lawfully in shooting at Guerra, who was brought into court in a wheelchair throughout the trial.