Following a seven-day trial, a jury found Jowell Gutierrez guilty of three counts Friday morning, but could not come to a consensus on the two heaviest counts of attempted first-degree murder.
The first-degree murder charges in Gutierrez’s trial hinged on the intent of his actions on Nov. 28, 2017. Jurors were ultimately unable to come to a unanimous decision on whether the 18 shots Gutierrez fired at Williams Police Department officers who were taking cover behind their police cars outside his apartment indicated an attempted murder or an attempt to commit suicide by cop.
Attorneys on both sides of the case agreed Gutierrez shot at officers, leading the jury to find the defendant guilty of two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon against police officers and one count of criminal damage. County Attorney Bill Ring appreciated the work the jurors put in to reach this conclusion.
"The guilty verdicts on aggravated assault with a deadly weapon mean that Mr. Gutierrez will face a significant amount of time in the Department of Corrections. The community is now protected from these particularly harmful impulses,” Ring said.
Ring declined to comment on the status of the case going forward. Gutierrez is due to return to court on Feb. 22 for his next court hearing. Prison time for his three guilty charges, including the two aggravated assault charges, could reach a total of 27 years depending on Judge Mark Moran’s decision at sentencing.
Gutierrez’s public defenders, Staci Foulks and Charles Doughty, argued that their client’s depressed state caused him to shoot at the officers in an attempt to antagonize them rather than harm them.
Gutierrez’s attorneys argued that if he wanted to kill the officers outside of his apartment, he was experienced with firearms and could have made more of an attempt to do so. Detective Jerry Wilson admitted when asked by prosecutors that he was at a tactical disadvantage to Gutierrez’s shots from his second-story apartment.
Prosecutor Ammon Barker opposed the defense’s suicide by cop narrative and focused on Gutierrez’s decision to take cover in his apartment and statements his family made to police such as “if cops approach, he will start shooting.”
Gutierrez’s attorneys declined to comment on the verdict.