Lexington man acquitted of murder of ex-Kearney man | Local News
LEXINGTON — A Lexington man was found not guilty of the first degree murder of a former Kearney man Friday afternoon in Dawson County District Court.
After deliberating for more than four hours, a 12-person jury acquitted Francisco Hernandez-Corona, 20, of felony first-degree murder and use of a firearm to commit a felony in Marcus’ death Keyser, 23, in the early morning hours of July 6, 2021.
After the verdict, Hernandez-Corona kissed his attorney, Brian Davis of Cozad.
“It’s always moving to know someone for so long and so closely for over a year, and when they’re so young. He was 19 when he was charged and 20 now. For the latest year of his life he’s been in jail, and it was his first time in jail Just trying to think what he’s thinking, which is a happy thought Thinking he’s going out on the beautiful day of ‘today and kissing his mother, then it just makes you happy,’ Davis said in response to the verdict.
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The case was investigated as a drive-by shooting.
At around 2 a.m. on July 6, 2021, police responded to a report of possible shootings in the 800 block of West Ninth Street in Lexington. Lexington Police responded to the area but initially found nothing. Two blocks away, officers then located a Ford Explorer with 21-year-old Adalberto Saenz-Gonzalez and Corona inside.
According to court documents, both were allegedly intoxicated and in possession of alcohol.
Dawson County District Attorney Elizabeth Waterman prosecuted the case. Judge James Doyle IV presided.
At the start of court proceedings on Friday, Davis renewed a motion for acquittal arguing that the state had failed to meet the burden of proof in the case. Doyle denied the motion.
During his closing arguments, Waterman said the evidence showed that Corona killed Keyser on purpose. She told the jury about Corona’s continued “beef” with Keyser and that Corona told his ex-girlfriend he had a plan to kill Keyser.
Prior to filming, Corona and Keyser had a meeting at a Lexington Casey convenience store. Waterman said when Corona saw Keyser it “triggered” Corona.
Waterman also said Gonzalez admitted to his cellmate shortly after his arrest that he had been the driver of the shooting.
“It wasn’t a shootout. … It was an ambush,” Waterman said of Keyser’s death.
Davis focused on the accounts of the two witnesses after the shooting. Both recalled seeing a lone white car on the street after hearing gunshots, which was not the white Ford Explorer the couple was arrested in or the gray Nissan Altima owned by Corona.
Davis said “confirmation bias” — a tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of one’s belief or theory — played a role in this case.
Davis said the ballistics didn’t match in the case and shots were fired about five minutes after the pair were near Keyser’s home.
Since the shooting and his arrest, Davis said Corona never gave up hope and never gave up. “He’s not crazy. He is innocent.
Six women and eight men heard the case. Two male jurors were excused as alternates on Friday morning before jury deliberations began.
Gonzalez is charged with first degree murder and use of a firearm to commit a felony in Keyser’s death. He pleaded not guilty. His case is pending in Dawson County District Court.