Three found guilty in slaying of mother protecting her son

Two men have been found guilty of murder while a third was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter for the slaying of a mother trying to protect her son during a shootout.

Jurors handed down the verdicts Wednesday in the case against four men accused of killing Monique Nelson in 2010 during a gun battle at a Sacramento barbershop.

Lonnie Orland Mitchell Jr., 27, was found guilty of first -degree murder, possession of an assault weapon and four counts of assault with a firearm.

His brother, Louis James Mitchell, 22, was found guilty of first -degree murder and four counts of assault with a firearm.

"They were the ones carrying the TEC-9 and the AK-47. It's hard to fathom you would go into a barbershop to get a haircut with those," juror Bob Harris said.

James Leo Carney, 35, was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter and being a felon in possession of a firearm. He was found not guilty of murder, second-degree murder, assault and assault with a firearm.

"Mr. Carney had what we called an imperfect defense. He was trying to defend his friends with what was going on," Harris said. "However, his bullet went astray and was the one that killed Monique Nelson."

Carney, Lonnie Orland Mitchell and Louis James Mitchell will be sentenced on Sept. 19.

Larry Dean Jones Jr., 32, was found not guilty on all charges: murder, second degree murder, voluntary manslaughter and assault with a firearm. Attorney Michael Wise said his client Jones acted in self defense. Wise said Jones had an illegal weapon and fired it. But, the bullets from Jones' gun never hit anyone.

Jones bought the gun a few days before the shooting because he had received several threats, Wise said. Jones will not face charges for having an illegal firearm, and he can't be tried for it again.

Outside the courtroom Wednesday, the Mitchell family started verbally attacking other families, including the Jones family.

"Emotions are very high. It's very difficult for a mother has two sons that are now going to spend the rest of their lives in prison," defense attorney Linda Parisi said. "It's very difficult. However, we will file an appeal on their behalf."

Monique Nelson was strapping her 2-year-old son into their SUV on Dec. 14, 2010 when a gun battle broke out at a strip mall in the 6900 block of Stockton Boulevard. A bullet pierced her car's windshield and hit her in the upper body. Nelson's child escaped injury.

READ MORE: Brother says sister died saving her son

Nelson's brother, Richard Nelson, Jr., said at the time that his sister was trying to protect her son when she was caught in the crossfire.

"I feel very numb right now. I can't imagine anyone going through this. It's unreal," Nelson said.

Nelson's mother Deborah Nelson said she isn't happy with the verdict.

"Right now, I feel like someone got away with murder," she said.


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