A former Los Angeles city fire captain was found guilty Thursday of second-degree murder in the killing of a woman whose body was dumped on an Eagle Rock street in the summer of 2006.
However, after two weeks of deliberations, the jury found David Del Toro not guilty of first-degree murder.
Del Toro, a 23-year Los Angeles City Fire Department veteran, killed 42- year-old Jennifer Flores on Aug. 16, 2006. Her naked body was found in the early morning hours that day less than a mile from his Eagle Rock home.
Jurors spent about two weeks considering the case before two jurors were excused Monday and the panel was ordered to resume its deliberations anew. The new panel spent about two days discussing the case before announcing it had reached a verdict.
Del Toro, 54, faces up to 15 years to life in prison.
"He's not going to suffer nearly as much as my sister suffered,'' the victim's brother, Richard Flores, said. "I wish he would go to prison and never come out, but I pray for his soul.''
Grace said the reason the jury did not convict Del Toro of first-degree murder may have been that he was drunk at the time of the crime.
"Intoxication was a factor here -- there was no disguising the fact that the defendant was drunk,'' he said. "I'm gratified that justice was done.''
Del Toro testified in his own defense last month, denying that he had killed Flores or had any ill will against her, but saying that he was so drunk he could not remember everything that happened that day.
"For a fact I don't remember killing her,'' he said. "I don't believe I killed her ... I just didn't kill her. I don't know how I'd know -- but I didn't kill her.''
Del Toro denied that he had any romantic interest in the woman.
But Deputy District Attorney Bobby Grace told jurors in his closing argument that Del Toro "tried to have sex with'' Flores, killed her after "she said no'' and "counted on the cover of darkness to hide his crime.''
Del Toro's attorney, Joseph A. Gutierrez, countered that his client's life was a story of a man who rose above a humble beginning, became a firefighter in 1983 and would "go into a burning building to save a stranger.''
"He's not a murderer,'' the defense lawyer said of Del Toro.
The defense attorney told jurors that a defense expert concluded that Del Toro was "essentially unconscious'' and suffering from a blackout after a day of heavy drinking, and questioned how a man with a history of back problems would be able to carry a body.
Del Toro had worked at fire stations in the Skid Row area, Lincoln Heights, Silver Lake, Hollywood and Arleta.
During his opening statement, the prosecutor told jurors that Del Toro broke Flores' nose, jaw and ribs, choked her to death and possibly dragged her body from his pickup truck through the neighborhood to the street where the body was discovered. He said police officers followed a trail of blood and tire tracks from the victim's body to Del Toro's front door.
In his opening statement, Del Toro's attorney countered that his client was so exhausted from work -- which included three consecutive 24-hour shifts in the days leading up to the killing -- that he was in a "twilight state of confusion,'' compounded by alcohol. He said the veteran firefighter eventually woke up in a "stupor'' and ``attempted to clean up ... an unexplained mess.''