Jury Finds Hinrichsen Guilty
October 31, 2013 by lmorgan
NELIGH — After five days of testimony, a jury found 33-year-old Matthew Hinrichsen guilty of two counts of first-degree murder in the death of a married couple back in December 2012.
It took a jury of five women and seven men less than four hours to deliberate Monday morning before handing down their verdict in District Judge James Kube’s courtroom. The jury began deliberations Monday at approximately 8:30 a.m. Three hours and 15 minutes later the verdict was read aloud in the courtroom. The Ewing man was found guilty of murdering his former girlfriend Victoria Lee and her husband Alex Vargas. The murders took place on Dec. 8, 2012, in a trailer home east of Ewing. Vargas died from three gunshot wounds while a coroner determined that Lee died from acute traumatic blunt force trauma to the head.
In addition to being found guilty of murder, the jury also found Hinrichsen guilty of one count of possessing a firearm while committing a felony (Class IC felony) and one count of use of a firearm to commit a felony (Class III felony). Hinrichsen is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 28, 2014. He could spend the rest of his life behind prison bars as a result of being convicted for the murders. Closing arguments in the trial were held Friday. During the trial, the defense team did not contest that Hinrichsen killed Lee and Vargas, but argued repeatedly that premeditation didn’t exist in the killings.
The case may have turned on a 911 call made by Lee just moments before she and Vargas were slain. Jurors heard the call several times in the courtroom, including twice Monday morning, where Hinrichsen’s voice was overheard telling the two victims “to die.”
Prosecuting the case was Attorney Corey O’Brien of the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office.