Sentence in hotel shooting being appealed in San Carlos

The case of a Nicaraguan security guard in La Fortuna, convicted of killing a 16-year-old student from Kansas, will go to an appeal panel, according to court officials in San Carlos.

An official at the criminal court in San Carlos, Alajuela, confirmed that the defendant’s lawyer has submitted an appeal.

The accused, Jorge Guevara, was sentenced to 15 years in prison Sept. 30 for the murder of Justin Johnston, which took place June 2, 2011. Additionally, Guevara and his employer, La Cangreja Hotel in La Fortuna, were ordered to pay about 323 million colons (approximately $650,000) to Johnston’s family.

At the time of his death, Johnston was visiting Costa Rica and was staying at La Cangreja with a group of students from his high school in Kansas. Guevara, a Nicaraguan citizen, was a security guard at the hotel, for which he carried an illegal .22-caliber revolver, the court concluded.

Johnston had left his room at night with a group late in the early morning of June 2, and was trying to sneak back into the hotel unnoticed. Guevara spotted them and thought he and his companions were thieves. He said that he meant to only fire warning shots with his gun, but one of the bullets hit and killed Johnston.

Court officials said it will take approximately two more weeks before the appeal to be formalized.

One of Guevara’s defense lawyers is Otto Giovanni Ceciliano Mora, the former mayoral candidate of Barva, Heredia.

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