Ex-pastor guilty of killing two in neighborhood feud

Accused’s attorney claimed shooting was self-defense
A judge's gavel, with the scales of justice in the background
Gavel Photo credit Michal Chodyra/Getty Images

Las Vegas, NV (AP) - A former Las Vegas pastor could face up to life in prison without parole after he was found guilty of shooting and killing his 71-year-old neighbor and her 54-year-old boyfriend following more than a decade of backyard squabbles.

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A jury found Andrew Cote, 38, guilty of two counts of first-degree murder in the June 2020 shotgun killings of Mildred Olivo and Timothy Hanson, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

Cote was handcuffed and jailed to await sentencing July 20.

The former pastor at Mountain View Baptist Church testified Wednesday that he shot Olivo and Hanson over a wall separating his backyard from Olivo’s because he felt he and his 9-year-old daughter were threatened.

Olivo and Hansen were unarmed, but Cote told the jury that he heard Hansen telling his daughter to have her father come outside.

Cote’s defense attorney, Michael Sanft, compared the neighborhood feud with “torture” and the shooting with an act of self-defense.

Jurors were told both neighbors summoned police multiple times over the years and applied for restraining orders against each other.

Prosecutor Marc DiGiacomo told the jury that although Olivo and Cote acted like “giant babies” while they were neighbors, Cote was not justified in the killings.