JUNEAU — A former Arizona lawmaker was convicted of first-degree murder Friday in the 2016 death of a jeweler in Southeast Alaska.
First-degree murder was the most serious of the charges filed against Mark DeSimone, 55, who shot and killed Duilio "Tony" Rosales, 34, at an Excursion Inlet cabin in May 2016.
DeSimone was also charged with two counts of second-degree murder, manslaughter, and criminally negligent homicide. But the Juneau jury did not have to deliberate on those lesser charges after agreeing on a guilty verdict for first-degree murder.
The jury returned with the verdict Friday morning after roughly six hours of deliberations that started Thursday.
During the trial, which started April 25, DeSimone's defense attorney never disputed that DeSimone shot Rosales. Instead, assistant public defender Deborah Macaulay argued that the two shots were unintentional discharges from a revolver that did not have a required safety modification.
The prosecution said there was nothing wrong with the operation of the revolver. Assistant District Attorney Amy Paige argued that a repeated cocking, aiming and firing of the single-action revolver was DeSimone's own choice.
DeSimone previously served in the Arizona House of Representatives until he was forced to resign. He was arrested in June 2008 after he was accused of assaulting his wife while his young daughter watched.
Maria Gonzales, Rosales' widow, said it was painful reliving the details of her husband's death over the last three weeks.
Gonzales broke down and ran from the courtroom shortly after the verdict was read.
"I think there will always be an open hole in my heart forever," Gonzales said. "Forever, because he took my husband. He was a really good man, you know. He didn't deserve to die like that. Nobody! Not even him. Not even him!"
Gonzales and Rosales had a little girl, who's now kindergarten age. For Gonzales, feelings are still raw after two years.
"I'm still emotional," Gonzales said. "I've been waiting for this for two years, and finally I can say that he's going to be fine with God. And, anyways, they're going to give him a hundred years, but it's not going to bring my husband back. But…that makes me feel a little bit better."
Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 12. DeSimone faces a term of between 20 and 99 years in prison.