Jury begins deliberations in murder trial | NevadaAppeal.com

Jury begins deliberations in murder trial

by F.T. Norton
Appeal Staff Writer

BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Maximiliano Cisneros listens to the prosecution present closing arguments at the Carson City courthouse on Friday. Cisneros is charged with second-degree murder and attempted murder.

A Carson City jury began deliberations shortly after 1 p.m. Friday in the murder trial of Maximiliano Cisneros.

Cisneros, 23, is charged with second-degree murder and attempted murder in a May 25, 2004, shooting in which Juan Carlos Alegria, 23, was killed and Fidel Fuentes, 23, was injured.

Cisneros was visiting a woman on Eighth Street when her estranged boyfriend, Fuentes, accompanied by Alegria, arrived. According to testimony, Fuentes began banging on the windows and doors trying to gain entrance.

Cisneros said when he heard the banging, he loaded a bullet into the chamber of the .40-caliber handgun he was carrying. The woman told him to leave out a back window, but someone was at the window trying to get in, he said.

Eventually, Fuentes broke into the apartment and confronted Cisneros in the back bedroom. Cisneros said he pointed the gun at Fuentes and told him to leave.

Cisneros said as he tried to leave the apartment moments later, Fuentes was in the front yard taunting him and Alegria was standing on the side with his hands in his jacket pocket. He said when Fuentes made a move as if he were reaching for a weapon in his waistband, Cisneros opened fire, striking Alegria three times in the torso and Fuentes once in the leg.

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Prosecutor Tom Armstrong presented evidence during the four-day trial to support the charge of second-degree murder, telling the jury Cisneros had every right to order Fuentes out of the apartment.

“But he followed him outside and shot an innocent bystander,” Armstrong said.

Second-degree murder carries a penalty of life with the possibility of parole after 10 years or a definite term of 25 years, with the possibility of parole after 10 years.

Defense Attorney Ben Walker asked jurors if they didn’t find Cisneros not guilty, to consider voluntary manslaughter.

Armstrong said Cisneros was in fear for his life and reacted out of self-defense. Involuntary manslaughter carries a penalty of one to four years in prison.

Two other people have already been sentenced in connection with the shooting.

Victor Rodriguez, 22, was charged as an accessory for helping Cisneros flee to Mexico following the shooting. Rodriguez, known to Carson City investigators as Steven Contreras, was sentenced in June by District Judge Bill Maddox to five years probation in lieu of 12 to 31 months in prison. Cisneros testified Rodriguez drove him to Mexico a day after the shooting.

In October 2004, Cisneros’ brother, Saul, 20, received probation for conspiracy to traffic drugs after eight weapons, 62.6 grams of crystal methamphetamine and 1,500 rounds of ammunition were found in a June 25, 2004, raid of a storage shed in connection with the search for Cisneros.

n Contact reporter F.T. Norton at ftnorton@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1213.