3 Arizona inmates found guilty of trying to kill jail guard

FLORENCE, Ariz. (AP) - Three Arizona inmates were found guilty of assaulting and conspiring to kill a jail guard.

Robert Villalobos, 30, Santiago Sanchez, 27, and Mauricio Moraga, 26, were found guilty Tuesday of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, The Casa Grande Dispatch reported.

Villalobos and Sanchez were accused of stabbing Lt. Sergio Antolin 21 times with sharp weapons they made themselves. Antolin survived.

Moraga was accused of keeping another jail guard from stopping the attack that happened in September 2016.

"The evidence in this case is overwhelming," Deputy Pinal County Attorney Patrick Johnson said.

Video footage documenting the assault was repeatedly played for the jury throughout the trial.

The jury was also shown photographs of the defendants' bed frames. Small pieces of the frames were missing, suggesting this was the material they used to make their weapons.

The three defense attorneys attempted to persuade the jury there was no convincing evidence of any plan to kill Antolin. Matthew Long, who represented Moraga, argued the location of the victim's wounds suggested the defendants intended to hurt rather than kill Antonin.

The defense's arguments appeared to not sway the jury, however, as it found them guilty on all 14 counts. They were also found guilty of multiple assault charges. Villalobos and Sanchez were each found guilty of promoting prison contraband.

The three defendants were each in the custody of the Pinal County jail at the time of the stabbing, awaiting resolution of their cases in Superior Court.

The jury will be asked to return Wednesday for the aggravation portion of the trial.

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