Border Patrol agent to be tried in federal court in shooting of illegal immigrant

Monday, September 24th 2007, 5:58 pm
By: News On 6

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) _ A U.S. Border Patrol agent charged with murdering an illegal immigrant will stand trial in federal court instead of state court.

A Feb. 26 trial date was set for Nicholas Corbett, who is charged in the death of 22-year-old Francisco Javier Dominguez Rivera, of Puebla, Mexico, in January just north of the border.

U.S. District Court Judge David Bury approved an uncontested request by Corbett's attorneys to send the case to federal court. Corbett had pleaded not guilty to the charge in state court.

Cochise County prosecutor Gerald Till asked Bury for a trial date before the end of this year, but Corbett's lawyers said that would be unrealistic given their trial schedules and the availability of expert witnesses.

Investigators say Corbett shot Dominguez as he tried to capture the man, his two brothers and one brother's girlfriend outside Naco.

Corbett says he acted in self-defense. According to investigators, he told colleagues he shot at a man who looked like he was going to throw a rock. Dominguez's relatives told investigators Corbett fired while pushing Dominguez to the ground, according to documents released by prosecutors.