SANTA ANA – A Texas man who shot and killed his ex-girlfriend’s father and injured her brother and mother during a 2009 Irvine standoff was convicted Monday of murder, with the focus of his trial then pivoting to whether he was sane at the time of the shootings.
A Santa Ana jury found Alwyn Gibson guilty of first-degree murder for the killing of De Ngoc Le and attempted murder for the shooting of Le’s son. It also found him not guilty of a second-attempted murder charge, for the shooting of Le’s wife.
Immediately after the jury verdict, Gibson’s attorney, Jacqueline Freeman, described her client as a paranoid schizophrenic suffering from delusions at the time of the shootings during opening statements in the trial’s second phase.
Gibson’s years-long, often-volatile relationship with De Ngoc Le’s daughter, Jennifer Le, had ended weeks before he invaded her family’s home. He had checked himself into a San Diego psychiatric facility the day before the shootings.
After getting released on Feb. 20, 2009, his attorney said, Gibson drove that day to Irvine, believing he was on a “mission from the government” to confront De Ngoc Le, who he knew was a defense contractor.
“If it sounds ridiculous, it is because it is a delusion, not reality,” the defense attorney told the jury.
Freeman acknowledged that Gibson, now 32, knew that what he was doing was legally wrong, a thought supported by his eventual attempts to negotiate with police. But the defense attorney said that Gibson didn’t know that his actions were morally wrong.
Deputy District Attorney Eric Scarbrough acknowledged that Gibson had a history of mental illness, which included an earlier stay at a psychiatric hospital. But the prosecutor said that wasn’t enough to make him legally insane at the time of the shootings.
“Simply having a diagnosis for a mental illness is not a free ride to commit crimes,” the prosecutor told jurors.
During the earlier phase of the trial,…