A man on trial for killing his boss has been found guilty of second-degree murder.
The jury determined Thursday that Higinio Salgado, 32, intended to kill well-known architect Graham Downes when Salgado drunkenly beat him in April 2013.
However, Salgado was found not guilty of first degree murder, which means the killing was not premeditated.
Salgado's and Downes' family packed into the courtroom as the verdicts was read, each side crying tears of different emotions.
"I think it was tough for everybody involved. You saw both families in court every day, so I think it had a big impact on everybody," said defense attorney Jose Badillo.
Downes was killed after hosting a happy hour party at his architecture office that turned into a night of drinking.
Both Salgado and Downes were intoxicated when they got into an argument over a former employee around 1 a.m. on April 19, 2013, according to the defense.
That argument escalated into a physical fight. Salgado got the upper-hand and beat Downes’ head into the pavement over and over, the prosecutor said.
Salgado’s attorney argued with an estimated blood alcohol level of 0.22 to 0.24, Salgado was “blackout drunk” and should not be held fully responsible for his actions because, in that state, he was essentially unconscious.
The prosecution disagreed, saying that Salgado’s dislike of the former employee and fear for his job festered into a murderous rage as the night went on.
"And the issues in this case where the defendant proposed a defense where if you drink enough alcohol, you can get away with murder, and the jury didn't buy it," said Deputy District Attorney Amy Maund.
One member of the jury told NBC 7 that it was a "grueling process" trying to apply the law to this case.
Salgado faces 15 years to life in prison at his June 6 sentencing.