Mexican National Convicted Of Murdering Former Emerald Isle Coast Guardsman

A federal jury in Los Angeles has convicted a Mexican national of killing a U.S. Coast Guard crewman when he rammed a 30-foot panga boat into the vessel the victim was aboard.

The deceased crewman, Terrell Horne III, was previously stationed in Emerald Isle.

U.S. attorney's spokesman Thom Mrozek says Jose Meija Leyva was found guilty Wednesday of second-degree murder of a federal officer.

Meija Leyva rammed his boat into a Coast Guard vessel as it approached on Dec. 2, 2012, during a drug-smuggling investigation off the coast of Southern California.

Chief Petty Officer Terrell Horne III was knocked into the water. He was fatally struck in the head by the panga boat's propeller.

Another guardsman was injured.

A second man aboard the panga, Manuel Beltran Higuera of Mexico, was convicted of lesser charges.

Horne worked at Coast Guard Station Emerald Isle from 2009 to 2011, before relocating to California.

On Wednesday night, Horne's widow, Rachel Horne, reached out to WITN.

Rachel issued this statement: "Although nothing can bring back my husband and the father of our boys, the system worked and justice has been served. Hopefully this will be an important step in the healing process. I would like to thank everyone who helped in securing the correct verdict."

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