Former Army soldier Ricci Bradden was found guilty of murder Wednesday in the fatal shooting of a father of three in an Arlington Walgreens parking lot in May 2016.
Bradden, 24, was on trial for the killing of 35-year-old Anthony "TJ" Antell, a good Samaritan who had intervened after Bradden shot his wife, an employee at the Walgreens in south Arlington. Bradden had requested a bench trial, so state District Judge Louis Sturns rendered the guilty verdict.
Bradden was also found guilty of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Sentencing will take place Thursday morning.
According to Star-Telegram media partner WFAA, Bradden took the witness stand Wednesday and claimed self-defense.
Bradden's attorney, Peter Shulte, could not immediately be reached for comment, but he took to Twitter to voice displeasure with the verdict.
"First off, I have high regard for Judge Louis Sturns in FTW. I obviously disagree with his ruling on finding my client, Ricci Bradden, guilty of murder. We will appeal as the “Castle doctrine” needs some appellate cases to give judges more direction on some provisions of the law," said Shulte in a tweet.
In a post on the Tarrant County district attorney's office Facebook page, prosecutor Allenna Bangs wrote that Bradden had complete disregard for the public as the incident unfolded.
"Had T.J. Antell not intervened that day he would probably be alive. But had he not intervened we don't know whether anyone else in that Walgreens would have lived," wrote Bangs. "T.J. was the Good Samaritan. It is up to us to finish the job T.J. Antell started that day."
Bradden's conviction came a day after Anthony's widow, Crystal Antell, testified on Tuesday during the opening of the trial.
When the incident took place, Anthony got a handgun from his car after seeing Bradden fire at a woman outside the store. Anthony tried to stop the gunman from driving away and was fatally shot.
Bradden fled the scene but later turned himself in to authorities in Hill County at the advice of his Army superiors based in Fort Hood.
An investigation revealed that Bradden told Army officers that as he ran to his truck after shooting at his wife’s feet, Anthony appeared with a gun and told him to drop his weapon. He claimed that he slapped the gun out of Anthony's hands and then shot him.
Anthony died at the scene.