Nigerian Man Sentenced To Life In U.S. Prison For Attempting To Assassinate District Judge

A Nigerian man, Chimene Hamilton Onyeri has been sentenced to spend the rest of his life in Federal prison for racketeering schemes that involved the capital murder of State District Judge Julie Kocurek.

Chimene Hamilton Onyeri

A federal Judge, Judge Lee Yeakel yesterday sentenced the 31-year-old to life in federal prison for his leadership role in carrying out fraud and racketeering schemes that involved the attempted capital murder of State District Court Judge Julie Kocurek in November of 2015.

In explaining his decision, Yeakel told a courtroom packed with Kocurek’s supporters that “an attack on a public official strikes at the heart of our constitutional government.”

Onyeri spent several weeks tracking Kocurek’s patterns before showing up outside her driveway at her West Austin home, walking up to her SUV and shooting four times at her as the judge and her family returned from a football game. Kocurek survived, but has required 30-plus surgeries to recover from wounds sustained in the attack.

Onyeri, 31, was convicted on all 17 counts he faced after many of his associates testified about the scheme, which included stealing unsuspecting customers’ bank account information and filing false tax returns with stolen Social Security numbers.

In addition to the prison term, Onyeri was ordered to pay $178,374.41 in restitution to the banks he stole from.

Onyeri’s lawyer, Victor Arana, said he will appeal the conviction and the sentence, arguing, among other things, that the federal statute does not clearly define the racketeering count for which Onyeri was convicted.

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