Security guard in Costa Rica acquitted of killing U.S. student

Oct. 3, 2013 at 4:22 PM
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MCLOUTH, Kan., Oct. 3 (UPI) -- A hotel security guard in Costa Rica was acquitted at a second trial of killing a Kansas teenager in the country with his high school Spanish club.

Wendi Johnston of McLouth, Kan., told The Kansas City (Mo.) Star she and her husband, John, are confused by the turn of events. Jorge Eduardo Guevara, a Nicaraguan, was sentenced to 15 years last year for shooting Justin Johnston, 16.

"It is unbelievable," she said. "We are shocked and confused. We're trying to grasp where we go from here."

Justin and another student from McLouth High School were staying in a separate part of the hotel from the rest of their group. Justin was shot as the two teens walked to their room in the dark.

A three-judge panel ruled this week that the shooting was justified because Guevara had legitimate reason to think the two teens were thieves, the Star reported Wednesday. The only witnesses were the guard and the student who was with Justin.

Johnston said a third trial is unlikely to have any practical effect because Guevara will return to Nicaragua and stay there. She said she and her husband traveled to Costa Rica for both trials, bringing the student witness.

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