The jury has found Sapp Brothers shooter Roger Allen Malcolm guilty of first-degree felony murder for shooting a security guard in the neck.

The verdict came back a little after 4 p.m., after the jury broke to deliberate at 11:30 a.m.

Malcolm's attorney, Rudy Batista, said he would appeal.

"The evidence showed it was clear Mr. Malcolm was attacked, he was provoked, but the jury disagreed and that is our criminal justice system ... We have several strong appellate issues."

Third District Judge Paul Maughan set sentencing for Aug. 18. The offense carries a 15 years-to-life sentence.

Both sides in the Malcolm trial murder had agreed on this much: There was no reason for security guard Verne Jenkins to die at his job at a Salt Lake truck stop last year.

But they disagreed about who was to blame for what both describe as a tragedy.

Prosecutor Alicia Cook contended that Malcolm, 51, was guilty of murder for shooting Jenkins in the neck, an act that jammed his airway with damaged tissue and caused him to quickly die from suffocation and bleeding. Cook said Malcolm had been yelling at cashiers for not waiting on him fast enough and Jenkins was simply trying to escort Malcolm off the property.

Afterward, Cook said she thought the verdict was the "appropriate decision in this case."

In contrast, Batista said his client was in the process of trying to leave when Jenkins, for some unknown reason, went over, grabbed Malcolm violently and tried to put him in a choke hold. Malcolm fired only in self-defense because he feared for his life thinking that Jenkins was reaching for a weapon, according to Batista.

It was later discovered that Jenkins was unarmed.

Malcolm was convicted of killing the 31-year-old security guard on Dec. 26, 2007 at the Sapp Brothers truck stop, 1953 W. California Ave.

During closing arguments on Thursday, Cook went over videotapes from truck stop's security cameras and paused them several times, using a tiny flashlight to point out certain details.

Once the jury left for its deliberations at 11:30 a.m., the group was permitted access to a laptop computer that contains the videotapes from the truck stop security cameras so jurors can examine them more closely.

Cook told the jury it is true that Jenkins put a hand on Malcolm's shoulder, but witnesses testified that it appeared to them he was trying to escort Malcolm out, or to detain or restrain him.

"What Verne did did not justify getting shot," she said.

Cook had urged the jury to review all the events of the day, including crude remarks Malcolm made after he shot Jenkins and the fact that he calmly sat down on a chair rather than helping the dying man — all behavior that shows Malcolm's mental state and a depraved indifference for human life.

"He called Verne an (expletive), a (another expletive), says 'He deserved it,'" Cook said. "I don't know how much more indifferent you can get."

She also spoke of the times Malcolm became belligerent and uncooperative with police after the event. Malcolm did not like it that Jenkins put a hand on his shoulder at the truck stop and he did not like it that police put handcuffs on him while conducting an investigation. Cook said Malcolm has a problem with authority and does not think the laws apply to him.

"This is not about self-defense — it's about self-aggrandizement," she said. "He thinks he's above everyone else."

Cook reminded the jury that Malcolm was carrying a loaded gun, pulled it out and admitted he intended to fire it.

"It was unjustified," she said. "There was no need for Verne Jenkins to die that day."

Batista, however, scoffed at the idea that this was merely a scuffle or fist fight in which Malcolm overreacted by pulling a gun.

"A scuffle isn't trying to get someone in a choke hold. A fist fight isn't body slamming someone to the floor," Batista said.

Jenkins, he argued, had no legal right to jump Malcolm, who ended up panicking and firing his gun just to protect himself.

Batista had urged the jury to judge Malcolm by his actions and not his words: Malcolm was leaving the building when Jenkins tackled him, Malcolm panicked and fired after he mistakenly thought Jenkins was reaching for a gun of his own, and Malcolm sat down and waited for police after the shooting.

"Guilty men run," Batista said, adding that Malcolm thought he was justified in defending himself.

Batista also said Malcolm was not as disruptive in the truck stop as he has been portrayed and that he only asked four times — in an admittedly loud voice — whether he was going to get waited on or whether he should go to another cash register.

Malcolm wasn't swearing, threatening anybody or damaging any property, and when it was clear he was not going to be waited on, he tried to leave, Batista said.

It was Jenkins who was in the wrong for jumping a man who didn't understand why someone would physically grab him and throw him down, according to Batista.

Batista said Malcolm wasn't trying to kill Jenkins because even expert an marksman would not aim for someone's neck because it's so easy to miss. If Malcolm really intended to kill Jenkins during this fight, all Malcolm had to do was push the gun barrel against Jenkins' ribs while they were struggling on the floor and pull the trigger.

Malcolm testified previously that he only wanted to fire a warning shot to let Jenkins know his gun was loaded and to get Jenkins off him.

"You have a right to use deadly force if you think someone is trying to kill you," Batista said.


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