An undocumented immigrant living in Texas was found guilty of killing her former co-worker in Kansas and abducting the victim's newborn baby.
Yesenia Sesmas, who also faked her own pregnancy after losing her unborn child, faces life in prison plus additional time when she is sentenced next month for the slaying of 27-year-old Laura Abarca. Kansas jurors deliberated for less than three hours before reaching the verdict on Tuesday.
Prosecutors say the 36-year-old Sesmas shot Abarca in the head on Nov. 17, 2016, in Wichita and took 6-day-old Sophia Gonzales. The baby was found safe less than two days after the abduction at Sesmas' apartment in Dallas.
"She's a happy baby," uncle Jose Abarca told the Wichita Eagle. "We really wanted to go through this trial and have justice. And I think that happened today."
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The jury in Sedgwick County found Sesmas, who is from Mexico, guilty of first-degree premeditated and intentional murder, kidnapping and interference with parental custody.
The trial centered on Sesmas' intentions when she went to Abarca's apartment, according to the Eagle. The two women had worked together at a Wichita restaurant years earlier.
Sesmas has maintained that Abarca had agreed to give her Sophia but reneged on the offer after she was born. She said she didn't plan to kill Abarca and maintained that the gun was only meant to threaten her.
"She didn't know that it (the gun) was going to fire and she was surprised when it did," public defender Jason Smartt said during closing arguments. "She didn't intend to kill Laura."
However, District Attorney Marc Bennett argued that the slaying was planned.
"What the defendant asks Laura is, do you have security here?" he told the jury, according to KSN. "Interesting questions to ask somebody the day before you’re going to come back and pull the trigger and kill them. Sound like she’s premeditating it? Sound like she’s thinking over beforehand?"
With News Wire Services