It's not every day that a small-town Texas trial garners attention on Gawker, but this is no ordinary crime. A jury in Bexar County, near San Antonio, has acquitted a man who admits to shooting a Craigslist escort. But he claims he had a lawful reason.
Ezekiel Gilbert met with Lenora Ivie Frago, 23, on Christmas Eve 2009. When she refused to have sex with him after he’d paid her $150, Gilbert says he was simply exercising his legal right in Texas "to use deadly force to recover stolen property during a nighttime theft."
The jury agreed and acquitted him of murder on June 5. A conviction could have sent him to prison for life.
Gilbert's defense attorney said Frago perpetrated a theft scheme when she accepted his money and left the apartment without performing any sexual acts. She was shot after reportedly going to the car to give the money to her pimp.
In an interview with the San Antonio Express-News, 30-year-old Gilbert sounded remorseful.
"I sincerely regret the loss of the life of Ms. Frago," Gilbert told the newspaper. "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."
Meanwhile, his victim has been in the ground for more than three years. She died about seven months after Gilbert shot her in the neck and paralyzed her.