After 15 minutes of deliberation, jurors found a 29-year-old man guilty of murdering CSUN student Abdullah Abdullahtif Alkali, 23, during a Craigslist car sell, according to prosecutors.
Agustin Rosendo Fernandez was convicted of first-degree murder on Thursday, with jurors also finding that the murder was committed during a robbery and carjacking.
Fernandez, a Long Beach native, fatally stabbed Alkadi, a Saudi Arabian third-year engineering student, after he responded to Alkadi’s post selling his Audi A6 for $30,000.
According to prosecutors, the two men met in Northridge on Sept. 17, 2014 to negotiate a deal, during which Fernandez stabbed Alkadi six times in the chest in an attempt to keep both the money and car.
Alkadi’s body was found on October 16 off Interstate 10 in Palm Desert.
Fernandez claimed he killed Alkadi in self-defense after he pulled a knife out and demanded more money.
The defense said Fernandez lied to detectives about what happened to Alkadi because he was afraid of getting in trouble.
During closing arguments, however, Deputy District Attorney Cynthia Barnes told the jury that Fernandez’s actions after the crime were consistent with a consciousness of guilt.
Barnes explained to the jury that consciousness of guilt is when a person who is accused of a crime does something which an innocent person wouldn’t do. According to USLegal.com, it allows a prosecutor to introduce testimony that shows that the defendants actions prove he knew he was guilty.
According to Barnes, Fernandez not only lied to detectives, but also didn’t tell anyone he killed in self-defense.
Fernandez’s attorney, Justine Esack asked the judge for a mistrial, on the grounds that Barnes introduced evidence to the jury that the defendant hadn’t been questioned on.
After reviewing the previous days of questioning of the defendant, the judge said that Barnes had indeed questioned Fernandez on the evidence and overruled Esack’s request.
Fernandez faces life in prison without the possibility of parole. His sentencing is scheduled for August 12.