FORT WORTH — A 22-year-old gang member was convicted of murder Friday afternoon in the death of a young mother who was shot during a party outside a south-side house almost two years ago.The Tarrant County jury will return Monday afternoon to begin the sentencing phase of the trial of Jacob Cordero. The maximum sentence on a murder charge is life in prison.Cordero was also convicted of aggravated assault charges for the wounding of seven people and of charges of engaging in organized crime.On Friday morning, prosecutor Michelle Dobson told the jury during her closing argument that the scene must have been like war.A number of people, including Christina Davila, 21, were at the party on Oct. 23, 2011, at a house a few blocks east of Bluebonnet Circle.“Imagine a minute later, seconds later, the hell that was raining down on them,” Dobson told the jury. “You could see a person in the shadows and the flash of a gun and the bullets raining down on you. Shot after gunshot after gunshot, over and over and over and over again.“Imagine what it must have been like, to be in something like the field of battle. To see bullets bouncing off things, to see your friend lying on the porch while you’re holding your arms and legs. To feel metal burning inside you.”Yes, it must have been terrible, Santiago Salinas, Cordero’s attorney, said in his closing statement.But prosecutors did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Cordero killed Davila, Salinas said. They asked jurors to believe the testimony of criminals seeking reduced sentences or suspects who wanted to throw suspicion on someone else, Salinas said.“You cannot convict somebody on ‘because I think he did it,’” Salinas said. “You’re being asked to take several leaps of faith to convict someone of murder. If you think Jacob Cordero is guilty by the preponderance of evidence, it’s not enough. We’ve had so many people who have had to be let out of prison because they are not guilty.”Dobson reiterated that police found 25 shell casings and one unfired round outside the house in the 3700 block of Frazier Avenue where Davila died.A bloody war was raging between two gangs, said Tamla Ray, who helped prosecute the case in state District Judge Mike Thomas’ court this week. At the party, Davila was “hanging out” with members of one gang.The day before the shooting, Cordero was knocked down by a friend of Davila’s at La Gran Plaza, and he was so embarrassed that he plotted revenge, prosecutors said.“That man right there lost face in front of his boys, and that demanded payback,” Ray said, pointing at Cordero.“And the way he got payback was to stand in the shadows and shoot at girls 26 times who had their backs turned to him.”Besides the murder charge, Cordero was convicted of one count of engaging in organized crime in Davila’s death and seven counts of aggravated assault and seven counts of engaging in organized crime in the wounding of the other people.Davila’s children are now 4 and 5, prosecutors said.
Mitch Mitchell, 817-390-7752 Twitter: @mitchmitchel3