Tucson man convicted of 1st-degree murder

2014-08-04T14:45:00Z 2014-08-05T07:59:24Z Tucson man convicted of 1st-degree murderBy Patrick McNamara Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

A Tucson man was convicted of first-degree murder Friday for a 2012 drug-related shooting.

Jurors in Pima County Superior Court Judge Javier Chon-Lopez’s courtroom found Jovon Luis Mankel guilty late Friday of first-degree murder, aggravated assault and discharging a firearm at a nonresidential structure.

Mankel, 24, was on trial for shooting and killing Jose Carlos “J.C.” Gonzales in the parking lot of an Eegee’s restaurant on North Oracle and West Roger roads in September 2012.

Mankel and his girlfriend had agreed to meet Gonzales at the restaurant to sell him some Percocet painkillers. Gonzales, instead, robbed Mankel and his girlfriend at gunpoint, then attempted to flee to a waiting car.

Mankel grabbed a handgun from the car and pursued Gonzales, shooting him in the back numerous times. Gonzales died later at the hospital.

Prosecutor Julie Sottosanti argued at trial that Mankel’s actions constituted premeditation.

Defense attorneys Staci Vierthaler and Matt Messmer had argued Mankel acted in self-defense after a man pointed guns at their heads.

They also attempted to prove that Gonzales was facing Mankel armed with a gun during the fatal shooting.

Contact reporter Patrick McNamara at pmcnamara@tucson.com or 573-4241. On Twitter @pm929

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