Political News

Border Patrol agent's trial in death of Mexican teen delayed

Posted May 8

— The second-degree murder trial of a U.S. Border Patrol agent accused of fatally shooting a Mexican teen on the other side of the international border has been delayed again.

The trial of Lonnie Swartz has seen at least six delays since the agent in the Tucson Sector was charged in September 2015, nearly three years after the shooting.

The latest trial date of June 19 has been moved to Oct. 12.

Swartz is accused of firing through the border fence from Nogales, Arizona, into Nogales, Sonora, and striking 16-year-old Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez about 10 times in October 2012. He said Elena Rodriguez threw rocks at him, endangering his life. The boy's family denies that, saying he was walking home after playing basketball with friends.

An attorney for Swartz has tried to get the case dismissed.

But a federal judge in March denied a motion to dismiss on grounds that the government didn't have jurisdiction over the case. The judge did agree to suppress answers Swartz gave to a superior the day he fatally shot Elena Rodriguez, saying Swartz was led to believe the answers couldn't be used to incriminate him. The questions are standard under the agency's use of force policy.

Swartz, who is on leave, is also facing a civil rights lawsuit filed by the ACLU on behalf of the boy's mother.

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