Thursday, June 17, 2004 - News - Illegal Immigrant Vigilante Case Ends In Mistrial - News - Illegal Immigrant Vigilante Case Ends In Mistrial

Illegal Immigrant Vigilante Case Ends In Mistrial
Man Accused Of Pistol-Whipping Immigrant

POSTED: 3:07 pm CDT June 17, 2004

HEBBRONVILLE, Texas -- The case against a vigilante group member accused of pistol-whipping an illegal immigrant ended in a mistrial after jurors deadlocked on the assualt charge against him.

Casey Nethercott, 37, a convicted felon who served prison time in California, was found guilty of the felony charge of possession of a firearm. But the court declared a mistrial on the assault charge against him. The defendant is accused of pistol-whipping Edwin Alfredo Mancia Gonzales, 26, while on armed patrol of a Hebbronville ranch in March 2003.

Nethercott was a member of the group Ranch Rescue, which works to protect private property along the southern U.S. border. He and several other group members were patrolling a ranch owned by Joe Sutton, who said he asked for their help because he did not want illegal immigrants and drug smugglers on his land.

Mancia and his companion, Fatima Del Socorro Leiva Medina, 30, of El Salvador, picked Nethercott out of a lineup, labeled a "set-up" by the defense, after the attack. The two were trespassing on Sutton's property to get past a Border Control checkpoint when Mancia was hit.

A juror who voted not guilty told the San Antonio Express-News that there were inconsistencies in the immigrants' testimonies and a report submitted in evidence was not addressed in the trial.

A new trial date for the assault charge was set for July 27. Nethercott will also be sentenced for the weapons conviction on that date.

Nethercott, Ranch Rescue, and the Suttons are named in a civil lawsuit backed by immigrants' rights groups and seeking damages for the Salvadorans. That lawsuit is expected to be heard in August.
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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