Published June 17, 2019
A federal jury on Monday convicted a man accused of shooting a U.S. Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent he allegedly mistook for a rival Chicago street gang member.
Ernesto Godinez, 29, was convicted of the May 2018 shooting of Kevin Crump as he and other agents were installing tracking devices on cars belonging to suspected gang members.
"It was an ambush," Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas Eichenseer said in his closing argument. "He was on the lookout for rivals. He was protecting Saints territory."
Prosecutors say one of the bullets fired by Godinez struck Crump in the head, entering his neck before exiting between his eyes. Crump needed reconstructive surgeries including steel mesh and titanium implants to repair the damage.
Defense attorney Lawrence Hyman acknowledged that Godinez was a member of the Latin Saints gang and was on the street the night of the shooting. But he contended no gun was ever recovered, and no forensic evidence linked Godinez to the agent's shooting.
"Being in a gang is not proof beyond a reasonable doubt," Hyman said. "Ernesto Godinez did not fire that weapon. He is not accountable for this horrible act."
According to prosecutors, surveillance video showed Godinez leaving his home minutes before the attack. The government contended Godinez later fired five rounds from a gangway and ran back to his home. Godinez was arrested three days after the shooting.
U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber set Godinez's sentencing for Sept. 19.