Elijah Ray Lambert, who shot and killed his friend in a fatally ill-advised stunt in 2015, was convicted Friday of involuntary manslaughter in the shooting.
Sacramento Superior Court jurors spared Lambert from the murder charge he faced in the fatal May 22, 2015, nighttime shooting of his friend Miguel Martinez, which was captured on a smartphone’s camera at a Fair Oaks-area park, his attorney, Jeffrey Fletcher, said Friday afternoon.
Martinez was wearing a bulletproof vest. He was 19.
Fletcher argued at trial that Martinez voluntarily donned the protective vest picked up by a friend from a man on the street – and became a human target for a videotaped stunt to be posted on Facebook.
Lambert also was found guilty of being a felon in possession of a firearm in connection with the deadly shooting at Bannister Park.
Video of the shooting pulled from the smartphone of Lambert’s girlfriend by Sacramento County sheriff’s investigators and played at his 2016 preliminary hearing showed Martinez wearing the vest, his hands in his pockets.
Prosecutors said Lambert, then 22, pointed a .22-caliber handgun at Martinez.
“Don’t miss,” Martinez said.
Martinez was struck in the torso with a single shot and died as his friends tried to take him back to their car.
Lambert is set to be sentenced March 9 before Sacramento Superior Court Judge Geoffrey Goodman.