ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. -- Thursday afternoon, Ernest Simmons was on trial for attempted murder. He was accused of firing shots that hit Orange County Deputies John Siller and Curtis Barnes.Thursday, a jury found him guilty on five counts including attempted murder of the two deputies.
It was standing room only as more than three dozen Orange County deputies sat in the courtroom to get justice for two of their own. Prosecutors told the jury that Ernest Simmons fired the shots that hit deputies John Siller and Curtis Barnes.
In court, Thursday, prosecutors said Ernest Simmons made a choice to shoot two deputies even though he said he accidentally shot at them 11 times with 2 different guns.
The defense argued that what Simmons did was nothing more than a freak accident and said he should only be charged with aggravated battery, not attempter murder.
In May of 2007, the deputies were working security at a crime prevention conference at the Caribe Royal Hotel in the Disney area when they spotted Simmons, Juan Rivera, and Lenlonnie Clark breaking into a vehicle. Prosecutors said Simmons shot Barnes in his right arm. Siller was hit in the chest.
The only thing that saved Deputy Siller was his bullet proof vest.
Prosecutors dropped the attempted murder charge against the other two suspects in exchange for their testimony. They will still be charged with burglary.