A former Marine was convicted Monday in the New Year’s Day 2016 shooting death of a University of North Texas student.
A Denton County jury found 21-year-old Eric Johnson guilty of murdering Sara Mutschlechner of Martindale. He could be sentenced to life in prison.
Mutschlechner, a student at the University of North Texas in Denton, 40 miles northwest of Dallas, was shot in the head after an exchange of words between people in the vehicle she was driving and a group of five or six men in a sport utility vehicle, according to police.
Mutschlechner was the designated driver after going to a New Year's Eve party that at least two people in the SUV had also attended, police said.
“As a trained Marine, he knew exactly what he was doing when he shot at the carload of teenagers,” prosecutors argued, according to FOX4.
An affidavit in the case said the shooting happened when men in an SUV made sexual remarks toward Mutschlechner and a female riding with her.
Johnson was arrested later at a Marine Corps facility in Yuma, Az. and then discharged by the Marines. The Marine Corps said Johnson was assigned to the Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron-1. Capt. Justin Smith, a spokesman for the Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command in California, said Johnson joined the Marines in August 2013. He said Johnson was an administrative specialist and had never been deployed.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.