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Jury convicts Luebbers of 1st-degree murder | News

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Jury convicts Luebbers of 1st-degree murder

PLACERVILLE, CA - A Placerville jury has found John Luebbers, the school maintenance worker charged with the Feb. 2, 2011 murder of Louisiana Schnell Elementary School Principal Sam LaCara, guilty of first-degree murder.

Luebbers did not testify.

"I just didn't think it was in my client's best interest," Defense attorney David Cramer said.

Cramer said he plans to appeal.

"I did not think enough evidence was presented to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that my client committed first degree murder," he said. 

STORY: Principal Sam LaCara fatally shot at Placerville school

The El Dorado County Superior Court jury received the case Tuesday morning and deliberated for two and a half hours. They were instructed to consider whether Luebbers was not guilty or guilty of first or second degree murder charges.

Luebbers was accused of fatally shooting his friend in his school office after an employment issue earlier that day.

Co-worker Cali Gray was among those in the courtroom who sighed in relief at the verdict. 

"It's bittersweet, because it's doesn't change the events, but I'm happy. The verdict is the right one," Gray said.

Family spokesman Ron Scherber said they were grateful for the verdict. 

"It brings things to rest. And I think they're really pleased with the outcome, but like I said, it's never gonna be over for them," Scherber said. 

Sentencing was set for June 15. Luebbers could face 25 years in state prison to life.

COURT BLOG: Placerville principal shooting trial 

Opening statements in the case began last Thursday.


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