Man gets life in prison for attempt to kill Austin judge in 2015

A 31-year-old Texas man has been sentenced to life imprisonment for an assassination attempt on a state judge in 2015.

Chimene Onyeri was sentenced on Tuesday by U.S. District judge Lee Yeakel. The jury found Onyeri guilty of multiple counts of fraud, racketeering and other charges.

According to the trial evidence, Onyeri, as a part of a racketeering enterprise, shot state District Judge Julie Kocurek,the presiding felony judge for Travis County, was shot in the driveway of her West Austin home,while she was in a vehicle returning home. She was accompanied with other people, but nobody else was hurt. Her condition was not life threatening when admitted to the hospital, but she had to undergo more than 20 surgeries and also lost a finger due to the attack.

As per the Federal prosecuters, Onyeri wanted Kocurek dead to avoid going to prison on a probation violation. However, Onyeri testified that he intended to damage Kocurek’s SUV only.

Kocurek, a former prosecutor, has served as the presiding judge of the 390th District Court since being appointed by then-Gov. George W. Bush in January 1999. She went on to become the only Republican elected to a state district judgeship in Travis County. In 2006, she switched political parties and joined the Democrats. “My job in the courtroom is not a political job,” she said at the time. “This is really about me just being honest with myself.”

Kocurek served as the administrative presiding judge of all criminal courts in the county, a position she held since 2011, and in that time, she helped spur an overhaul of the defense system used to appoint lawyers to the cases of poor defendants.

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