Jury finds Big Island man guilty of second-degree murder in fatal shooting

Jury finds Big Island man guilty of second-degree murder in fatal shooting

KEALAKEKUA, Hawaii (AP) - A Hawaii man has been found guilty of second-degree murder in a shooting that killed one man and injured another.

West Hawaii Today reports that a jury on Thursday returned a guilty verdict for 50-year-old Brian Lee Smith of Honaunau. Smith was facing charges in the June 2018 shooting that killed Thomas Ballesteros Jr. and injured Nikolaus Slavik.

Smith was found guilty of second-degree murder, as well as first-degree reckless endangerment in relation to the assault on Slavik.

He also was found guilty on two counts of ownership or possession (firearm) prohibited and two counts of carrying or use of a firearm in the commission of a separate felony.

Attempts to reach Smith’s attorney, Jason Kwiat, for comment were unsuccessful.

Smith’s sentencing is scheduled for June 26. He faces life in prison with the possibility of parole. 

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