A Sacramento Superior Court jury today convicted Robert Vasquez of first-degree murder in the Sept. 12, 2010, shooting death of Madalene Thomas in Rancho Cordova.
Thomas, 49, the mother of an adult son, was in the process of relocating to her hometown of Sacramento from Reno when Vasquez shot her to death while she was driving with a nephew on Explorer Drive.
Vasquez claimed he had been harassed by gang members and that he took preemptive measures against a vehicle he mistakenly believed was occupied by the people who had been giving him trouble, according to the defendant's trial brief.
Neither Thomas nor her nephew had anything to do with the alleged incidents against Vasquez, authorities said.
Authorities arrested Vasquez in Redwood City two days after the fatal shooting. In an attempt to escape, he jumped out of a third-story window and sustained critical injuries.
Along with the murder conviction, jurors also found true a special-circumstance allegation that Vasquez fired a weapon from a motor vehicle. He is facing a sentence of life in prison with no chance of parole.
Judge Marjorie Koller scheduled Vasquez's sentencing for Nov. 22.