The 25-year-old broke down upon hearing the verdict.
The other two counts are burglary of a dwelling and armed robbery. Gutierrez,
25, appeared disconsolate and put her head down on a table when the verdict was
read, and her mother broke down and had to be removed from the courtroom.
Jurors started deliberating on Wednesday afternoon after 12 days of testimony and came to a decision shortly after 11 Thursday morning. Gutierrez was found responsible for the shooting death of 40-year-old Tampa police officer Lois Marrero, even though it was her boyfriend, Nester DeJesus, who actually pulled the trigger on July 6, 2001.
The defense tried to illustrate that Gutierrez was an abuse victim and had no choice but to go along with DeJesus' actions when he killed Marrero after they robbed the Bank of America on South Church Avenue in Tampa. DeJesus committed suicide after a three-hour standoff with police.
Gutierrez's mother had to be removed from the courtroom after the verdict was read.
The prosecution tried to convey that Gutierrez was responsible for her own actions. She could receive life in prison when she is sentenced on June 23.
After the proceedings, prosecuting attorney Mark Ober said justice was done, though he thinks the focus should be on the victim.
"The pain and scars that we bare will be with us forever," said Ober.
Gutierrez's attorneys plan on appealing the decision immediately.
"I'm very disappointed, but I never criticize what a jury does," said defense attorney DeeAnn Athan.
Marrero's life partner, Mickie Mashburn, was relieved by the jury's decision.
"My shoulders feel a little bit lighter today," said Mashburn.
Davis said the weight of her decision left her sick to her stomach. Hours later, a pizza delivered to her home turned cold as Davis contemplated the decision she made with 11 other jurors.
``I don't want this girl to go to jail, personally,'' Davis said. ``My heart ached for this girl and her mother. But that was the law.''
Deciding how the law applied to the events of July 6, 2001, took the 12 jurors six hours and 40 minutes over two days.
On the day of the crimes, Gutierrez and Nestor ``Chino'' DeJesus robbed a bank, and less than an hour later, DeJesus shot and killed Tampa police Officer Lois Marrero. As police closed in, Gutierrez grabbed Marrero's gun and DeJesus broke down a door, and he and Gutierrez entered the apartment of Isaac Davis. DeJesus committed suicide, and Gutierrez surrendered. She was charged with Marrero's murder because she was an accomplice in the bank robbery.
Jurors talked about Gutierrez's life, her young age and her daughter, Ashley, 4. They talked about how their decision could send Gutierrez to prison for the rest of her life.
``We talked about that for a little bit because of the humanity of it,'' juror Gina Lechowich said.
One juror reminded the others that it was not their job to consider the penalty. Their job was guilt or innocence.
The first weighty issue they discussed was Gutierrez's duress defense. Gutierrez's attorney, DeeAnn Athan, had told the jurors that Gutierrez saw no choice but to help DeJesus with the bank robbery because Gutierrez feared he would beat her or kill her if she didn't.
Jurors had heard testimony about how DeJesus beat, raped, choked and demoralized Gutierrez. She testified that after years of abuse, he broke her spirit and she decided to do whatever he said.
But Gutierrez had made independent decisions July 6, 2001, Linda Davis and Lechowich said. And there was photographic proof.
Inside the Bank of America at 1501 S. Church St., surveillance cameras captured Gutierrez standing over bank patronslying on the floor.
She held a MAC-11 at her hip, pointing it around the bank. Jurors remembered that DeJesus hadn't told her to do that.
She and DeJesus escaped to their home at the former Crossings Apartments at Cleveland and Church streets.
Gutierrez showered, and DeJesus' mother called to tell him police were after him. DeJesus and Gutierrez fled.
In the parking lot, Marrero confronted DeJesus and chased him into a nearby cemetery.
Gutierrez ran to neighbor Mike Kokojan and asked to use his phone.
``She wanted to hide in his apartment,'' Lechowich said.
Jurors also considered a secretly videotaped conversation between Gutierrez and DeJesus from inside Isaac Davis' apartment. Police persuaded DeJesus to accept a police telephone during hostage negotiations. What DeJesus didn't know is that the phone had two hidden cameras inside.
On the videotape, DeJesus asked Gutierrez, ``What do you want me to do?''
That one question convinced some jurors that Gutierrez was not DeJesus' puppet, Lechowich said.
``Once we determined ... she was not under duress, then the armed robbery was easy,'' Linda Davis said.
The next issue was personal for Lechowich: the armed burglary of Isaac Davis' apartment.
Jurors debated whether Gutierrez entered the apartment on her own will or DeJesus forced her in.
Lechowich shared her hostage experience. In 1996, she, her husband and their two children were on an Egypt Air flight that was hijacked, she said. Three armed men took them hostage, and the aircraft landed in Libya.
Luckily, the hijackers never learned she was American and her husband was a major in the Army.
``The perspective we have to remember is Isaac's perspective,'' Lechowich remembered telling the other jurors.
Isaac Davis was held for 3 1/2 hours while Gutierrez and DeJesus talked about Marrero's death, the bank robbery and their suicide pact. DeJesus killed himself in Isaac Davis' home. Gutierrez surrendered.
She did not deserve a not guilty verdict on that count, Lechowich said.
``She never tried to convince Nestor to let him go. She didn't say: `Nestor's in the bathroom. Go. Run.' ''
The other jurors were convinced. They decided Gutierrez was guilty of armed burglary.
Finally, jurors debated the murder charge.
The law allows an accomplice to be held responsible for murder during a felony or during the escape. Athan argued the escape was over once Gutierrez made it home.
``Were they home free? Did they think they were home free? That was very hard for me to decide,'' Linda Davis said.
Jurors went over the sequence of events and came to Gutierrez's shower and the warning phone call DeJesus received from his mother.
The shower, jurors decided, was to wash away the tear gas released when a bank dye pack exploded, Lechowich said. The phone call kept the two on the run, Linda Davis said.
Those two details helped the jury decided she was guilty of murder.
Gutierrez will be sentenced June 23. For her first-degree murder conviction, she must be sentenced to life in prison.
Reporter Joshua B. Good can be reached at (813) 259-7638.