TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas - Family and friends of Travis County Judge Julie Kocurek attended the start of the trial for the man who allegedly tried to kill her.
Judge Kocurek also attended but came and went Monday through a secured entrance at the Federal Courthouse. When District Attorney Margaret Moore emerged from the courthouse she spoke about how this case wasn’t just about an attack on an individual. It has touched many other lives.
“This is a very emotional time for the entire courthouse community. We do support Judge Kocurek through this moment. We’re very proud that the DA's office, I’ve had an assistant assigned to this case from the very beginning and she is in the court room monitoring. This has been an excellent collaboration between the state and federal prosecution we are so happy this moment has come so we get the trial behind us,” said Moore.
The case actually began six years ago with a traffic stop in Rollingwood. When Chimene Onyeri was caught with stolen credit cards and equipment used for identity theft. He was placed on probation for the crime. In late November of 2015, Rollingwood Detective Joel Martin spoke to FOX 7 about how the initial case became much larger.
"It’s hard to understand, hard to really comprehend that this is a case that I put in that court,” said Martin.
Onyeri was scheduled to go back before Judge Kocurek in 2015 for violating his probation. Jail time was a real possibility. Prosecutors Monday said Onyeri’s larger Houston based criminal enterprise would have remained hidden if not for the attempt to prevent the probation hearing from happening.
The Ambush occurred on Nov. 6. 2015 at the entrance to the judge’s home. Her son was the first to testify about the day of the attack and the 9-1-1 call he made. The jury heard audio of a frantic Will Kocurek shout.
“We just got shot at,” said the younger Kocurek. When the 9-1-1 operator asked, is anybody injured he responded, “ my mom is. Hurry ... please hurry, please hurry.”
It took about a year for Judge Kocurek to recover and return to the bench. The judge thanked those who had supported her journey back in February 2016.
“I guess it was about 30 seconds of extreme horror and violence that me and my son and family members felt over the goodness and love that poured out the thousands of minutes far outweigh any evil in this world,” said Judge Kocurek at the 2016 gathering in her courtroom.
Monday in federal court the jury was told that Onyeri and two associates spent a month planing the ambush of Judge Kocurek. We also learned that before the attack there was at least one failed attempt to kill her.
A critical piece of evidence during the trial is expected to be Onyeri’s cellphone.
Investigators claim they found pictures of the judge’s car on it and that the images were taken the day she was attacked.
Chimene Onyeri has entered a not guilty plea although his defense attorneys in court admitted Monday their client was involved in criminal activity in Houston where he lives.
Onyeri was portrayed as a small time crook not the kingpin of a major criminal enterprise. And his role in the shooting of the judge was also downplayed by his lawyers.