A mentally ill man who was shot after he confronted a Fresno officer with a knife was found guilty Tuesday of the attempted murder of the officer.
James Timmons, 28, whose right leg had to be amputated after the September 2013 police shooting, held back tears and buried his head in his arms after the verdict was announced in Fresno Superior Court.
Jurors, who deliberated over three days, also found him guilty of assault on a police officer with a deadly weapon.
Because the jury found true that the attack was on a police officer, Timmons faces seven years to life in prison when he is sentenced on Dec. 17 in Judge Gary Hoff’s courtroom.
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The verdict was a blow to Fresno defense attorney Marina Pincus, who argued that Timmons is bipolar and was delusional, hearing voices and incapable of forming the intent to kill or harm Officer Eric Kong on the night of the incident.
She told the jury that Timmons was trying to commit suicide by cop, but failed.
In presenting the case to the jury, Pincus and prosecutor Ryan Wells agreed that Timmons held a knife when he confronted Kong and that Kong fired six rounds at Timmons during the early hours of Sept. 4, 2013, at an apartment complex’s carport and alley near Sierra Vista and McKinley Avenue in east-central Fresno.
In dispute was whether Timmons intended to attack Kong.
James Timmons, 28, faces seven years to life in prison when he is sentenced.
Fresno police said family members called dispatch to report that Timmons was acting strangely.
Pincus, however, told the jury that the family wanted to get Timmons to a hospital, so when they made the telephone call they believed they were calling for an ambulance.
According to Pincus, on the day of the incident, Timmons believed his mother was being held hostage and that he had to sacrifice his life to save his family.
When officers showed up, Timmons, armed with a knife, charged Kong, Wells said.
Kong fired his service weapon, momentarily stopping Timmons. Getting off the ground, Timmons charged again, causing Kong to trip while backing up. Kong then fired several more rounds, stopping Timmons from attacking again, Wells told the jury.
During the trial, the jury heard the family’s call to police and learned from Dr. Harold Seymour that Timmons suffers from bipolar Type 1 disorder.
Timmons testified that he was crying when he confronted police.
According to Pincus, Kong testified that Timmons never said a word and had a blank face. In addition, Pincus said there was no evidence that Timmons swung the knife at the officer.
After the shooting, Timmons spent nearly a year in the hospital. In addition to losing a leg, he can no longer use his left arm, and has to use a wheelchair.
In announcing the verdict, the jury of six men and six women said it was unable to decide whether Timmons premeditated his attack, as the prosecution contended.