SEATTLE — A jury has convicted a man for fatally shooting a student and wounding two others at a small private Seattle university in 2014.
The King County jury found Aaron Ybarra guilty of first-degree murder, three counts of attempted murder and one count of assault for the attack at Seattle Pacific University that killed 19-year-old Paul Lee.
Ybarra had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. His attorney had sought at trial to show that Ybarra suffered from a debilitating mental illness and limited intellectual function and that he believed God was directing him to shoot.
Prosecutors argued that the shooting was premeditated, that Ybarra knew what he did was wrong and that he didn't mention God leading him until months after the shootings
Seattle Pacific University released this statement following the verdict:
"While today’s verdict marks the end of the criminal trial related to June 5, 2014, it does not mark the end of the impact this act of violence has had on our campus.
We continue to keep the victims, families, and all those affected by this tragedy in our prayers. We continue to journey with the Lee family on how we can honor Paul, who would have been a senior this year.
We want to express our gratitude to the judge, jury, and justice system for their respect for our community during this time.
We also want to say thank you to our neighbors and friends in Seattle and around the region for their love and support. We are grateful to be a part of such a compassionate community.
Finally, we acknowledge the Lord’s faithfulness to us and to his continuing redemptive work on our campus. Seattle Pacific remains strong and resilient."
Prosecutors and defense lawyers gave closing arguments Monday before the case went to the jury.
Charging papers say Ybarra scouted the campus before he returned on June 5, 2014, with the intent of committing a mass shooting he did not expect to survive.