A hushed courtroom heard that Victor Silva has been found guilty of first-degree murder in La Paz County Superior Court at 6pm Monday by a jury who had deliberated for around 6 hours.
Silva had been accused by the State of Arizona of causing the death of his accomplice, after what authorities described as a crime spree that ended badly. The accomplice was his newlywed wife Stephanie Hill, who was allegedly In the car with Silva, shooting out the window through the California desert as they fled police at speeds of up to 130 miles per hour.
The chase ended when a spike strip shredded the vehicle’s tires in a remote area near Ehrenberg, AZ, just across the state line. Cops shot Stephanie Hill when she allegedly took a gun out of her pocket, moments after Silva had been arrested several yards away.
Silva was charged with her murder under Arizona’s ‘felony murder rule’, which states that if someone gets shot and killed by police while the suspect is in the commission of a felony and the shooting is due to their reckless behavior, they can be charged for their murder.
Judge Samuel Vederman had informed the jury that they had until 6pm to reach a verdict, at which time the deliberations would break until December 31st. The jury came close to the deadline, but ultimately agreed largely with the prosecution, also finding Silva guilty of conspiracy to commit drive-by shooting and guilty of conspiracy to hinder prosecution.
The defense attorney was public defender Robin Puchek. The prosecution was handled by Karen Hobbs at the La Paz County Attorney’s Office. County Attorney Tony Rogers declined to comment further as the case is not yet finished: A hearing will be held December 31st presenting aggravating factors for sentencing, which means the jury will be back in court again before they are relieved of their service to the court. Sentencing will then come early next year, after which Silva will likely be extradited to Sonoma County for pending charges there. He and Hill were named by authorities in the murder of an 84 year-old woman in her home.
For a more complete account of the details of Silva’s charges, see the earlier article on the trial HERE.