Jury Deliberates in Sandoval Murder Trial

The jury began deliberating Monday afternoon in the case of accused murderer Jose Sandoval. Prosecutors said Sandoval was the ringleader in the killings of four employees and one customer in a Norfolk US Bank branch last year. He is standing trial in Aurora.

Madison County Public Defender Harry Moore said there was no evidence the killings were premeditated or deliberate. Moore said, quote, “Just because people take loaded guns somewhere does not mean there was intent to kill,'' — end quote. Moore argued that Sandoval therefore should not be found guilty of first-degree murder, which is punishable by death.

Madison County Attorney Joe Smith said Sandoval personally killed three people while his partners fanned out and killed two other employees. The plan was to rob the bank, but that was rejected when Micki Koepke walked in during the shooting and escaped unscathed, Smith said. Moore said there was no evidence to prove it was a planned bank robbery.

Sandoval sat through closing arguments staring straight ahead with his left hand on his chin much of the time. Sandoval did not testify at trial. No evidence was presented by the defense. Prosecutors presented dozens of witnesses over five days, including Koepke, who identified Sandoval as being inside the bank.