Texas Escort Killer Acquitted of Murder

     SAN ANTONIO, Texas (CN) – It was not murder for a Texan to shoot an escort who tried to drive off with the $150 he paid her for sex they never had, a jury ruled.
     Ezekiel Gilbert faced up to life in prison for the killing of Lenora Ivie Frago, 23, who was shot in the neck and paralyzed on Christmas Eve in 2009. She died seven months later.
     At his trial in Bexar County last week, Gilbert testified that Frago came to his apartment after he answered her ad on Craigslist. She allegedly walked around his apartment for 20 minutes and then said she had to give the money to her driver.
     Gilbert reportedly fired shots into the car’s passenger side, seriously wounding Frago, when she and her alleged pimp tried to drive away.
     Represented by attorneys Bobby Barrera and Roy Barrera Sr., the defense admitted that the shooting transpired but said Gilbert had no intent to kill. They argued Gilbert was the victim of theft because the escort he had found on Craigslist refused to have sex with him or give the money back. Gilbert claimed he was merely trying to retrieve money stolen from him.
     Texas gun laws allow a person to use deadly force on someone “to prevent the other’s imminent commission of arson, burglary, robbery, aggravated robbery, theft during the nighttime, or criminal mischief during the nighttime.”
     Assistant District Attorneys Matt Lovell and Jessica Schulze nevertheless argued that the law does not apply in this case. They said it was not intended to protect someone forcing another person into committing another illegal act, which in this case was prostitution.
     A Bexar County jury deliberated for 11 hours on Wednesday before finding Ezekiel Gilbert not guilty of murder, the San Antonio Express-News reported.
     After the verdict, Gilbert thanked God, his defense team and the jury for being able to “see what wasn’t the truth” and for the “second chance,” the Express-News reported.
     “I sincerely regret the loss of the life of Ms. Frago,” Gilbert said. “I’ve been in a mental prison the past four years of my life. I have nightmares. If I see guns on TV where people are getting killed, I change the channel.”

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