Feds won't pursue third trial against Border Patrol agent


Federal prosecutors on Thursday said they will not seek a third trial for a Border Patrol agent who has been acquitted twice after fatally shooting a Mexican teenager across a border fence.

A filing in court shows prosecutors say they will no longer pursue the case against Lonnie Swartz, the agent who killed 16-year-old Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez in October 2012.

"Agent Swartz is relieved and looking forward to moving on with his life without the threat of criminal prosecution hanging over his head," his attorney, Sean Chapman, said in an email to The Associated Press.

In April, Swartz was acquitted of second-degree murder, but a jury deadlocked on manslaughter charges. Prosecutors re-tried Swartz on voluntary and involuntary manslaughter charges. They said Swartz lost his cool when he became frustrated at rock-throwers from the Mexican side of the border while on the job.

The second trial, which began in October, ended with a not guilty verdict on the involuntary charge, but the jury again deadlocked on voluntary manslaughter.

Swartz was the rare agent who was prosecuted for use of force. The shooting, and his indictment three years later, came at a time when the Border Patrol was increasingly under scrutiny for its use of force, especially pertaining to rock-throwers, or people on the Mexican side of the border who throw rocks to distract agents.

Swartz's attorney said he was acting in self-defense and following Border Patrol policy when he fired at least 16 shots at Elena Rodriguez through the slats of a border fence dividing Nogales, Arizona, and Nogales, Sonora.

Prosecutors said Elena Rodriguez was throwing rocks at Swartz and other law enforcement officers who were on scene chasing a suspected drug smuggler in an effort to distract them.

The boy's family still denies that he was involved. They say his killing was not justified.

The announcement on Nov. 21 that the jury had found Swartz not guilty on involuntary manslaughter but had deadlocked on voluntary manslaughter was met with protests from activists who marched through downtown and shut down a busy intersection.


Reader Comments


Next Up in Nation World

California woman charged after daughter, 8, killed by train
California woman charged after daughter, 8, killed by train

A California woman was arrested on felony child neglect charges Tuesday after her 8-year-old daughter was killed by a train near downtown Fresno, KFSN reported. >> Read more trending news  Joy Frances Collins, 44, had urged her daughter and 9-year-old son to cross the tracks Monday around 6 p.m. because they were trying to catch a bus...
3 bomb scares in weeks: ‘We have to take these things seriously’
3 bomb scares in weeks: ‘We have to take these things seriously’

A suspicious package attached to a parked car outside two restaurants at the Dayton Mall was removed by a robot Monday night as customers of the eateries were kept from their vehicles for hours. The questionable package reported outside Bravo Cucina Italiana and the Rusty Bucket Restaurant and Tavern prompted a nearly five-hour investigation, the third...
New York City mom gives potential car thief 'a whoopin''
New York City mom gives potential car thief 'a whoopin''

Don’t mess around with an angry mom, especially if you are trying to steal her vehicle. >> Read more trending news  A New York City mother taking her son to school, seeing a man attempting to steal her SUV, dragged him out of the vehicle and pinned him to the ground until police arrived, WABC reported. "He's lucky I...
Man caught trying to sell stolen appliances on Facebook, police say
Man caught trying to sell stolen appliances on Facebook, police say

Facebook can be a great place to sell household appliances -- but it's not a great venue to sell stolen ones. >> Read more trending news  Police said a New Mexico man, in a “dumb move,” broke into a house, stole some appliances and then tried to sell them to undercover Rio Rancho police officers on Facebook, KRQE reported...
Bath Twp. vote on fire contracts tonight will end Fairborn agreement
Bath Twp. vote on fire contracts tonight will end Fairborn agreement

Bath Twp. trustees are expected to approve new contracts tonight for fire and EMS service, ending a long-standing relationship with the city of Fairborn. Contracts agreements were reached this week with Bethel, Miami and Beavercreek townships, and Bath Twp. trustees will consider approving the agreements at their meeting tonight. RELATED: A fire contract...
More Stories