Cape Coral, Florida (News-Press) -- Louise Pirigyi could barely contain her emotion Thursday as the judge pronounced the man who killed her son guilty of second-degree murder.
"I'm so happy," Pirigyi whispered, crying, from her seat in the courtroom. She raised her shaking hands.
Defendant Kenneth Roop, 53, of Cape Coral, faces a mandatory life sentence. His sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 7.
Roop was found guilty of killing Nicholas Rainey, a 30-year-old door-to-door salesman, who knocked on Roop's door last summer to sell him meat. Roop pulled up in his pickup to find Rainey standing in his driveway, and shot him in the chest and back of the head.
Roop's attorney argued Roop was afraid - a strange man was coming at him, and he shot in self-defense. But after two hours of deliberation, the jury found otherwise. Roop did not testify.
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The prosecution began Thursday's proceedings by showing a video of Roop giving his statement to a Cape Coral detective. Roop said when he pulled in and saw Rainey in his driveway, his first thought was the salesman was trying to break into his house.
Roop appeared flustered when Detective Kurt Grau asked why he didn't warn Rainey before firing.
There wasn't time, Roop said. Rainey was too close and approaching too quickly. Roop asked Rainey why he was there, and Rainey said something about meat - but it didn't add up, Roop said. The salesman had something in his hand, and Roop didn't like his attitude, he said.
So Roop fired his 9 mm Glock and Rainey fell. Then Rainey moved his hand toward his chest, so Roop fired again.
"I fired for effect," Roop told Grau in the video. "I fired once, then I fired again ... He was either on the ground or going down, but I fired. And I was aiming at the head."
Roop said his Marine Corps training taught him to neutralize a threat by firing three times.
"One thing about a 9 mm," Roop told Grau, "it doesn't put people down on the first shot."
Following the shooting, Roop said he heard Rainey's co-workers yelling to get their guns. In fear for his life, he took shelter in his garage and grabbed his M-16 rifle.
Roop said he was thinking, "I'm going to need more firepower."
Roop told Grau he almost shot Collier County Sheriff's Sgt. Kristin Shiner, who was running toward the scene, gun in hand. He only stopped because she identified herself as a law enforcement officer, and he saw her badge.
"I could have taken her out," Roop said.
When Grau left the room, the video showed Roop break down and cry. Grau returned and asked Roop if he thought he made a mistake.
"No," Roop said, still crying, "but he's dead."
Roop was afraid of what Rainey would do, defense attorney Marquin Rinard said during his closing argument.
"Nicholas Rainey goes toward him," Rinard said. "And you heard Mr. Roop say he was surprised at how quickly he closed that distance. Roop wasn't prepared for that."
The prosecution argued there was no reason for Roop to shoot.
"Ladies and gentlemen," Assistant State Attorney Andreas Gardiner said, "he had options. He chose to kill. He chose wrong."
Rainey's family held hands in silence as they waited for the verdict Thursday evening. On the other side of the courtroom, Roop's family did the same.
Before the judge read the verdict, Roop turned and made eye contact with a family member. He smiled, mouthed "I love you," and raised his eyebrows.
When the judge read the verdict, Pirigyi hugged her family and the prosecuting attorneys.
"I feel outrageous," she said, grinning. "I finally got justice."
Roop's family did not outwardly react to the verdict. The family declined comment.
Pirigyi said Thursday's ruling makes the death of her son a bit easier.
"I got so much closure," she said, "from looking at (Roop) in that courtroom and making him suffer."