BRONX, New York (WABC) -- Jose Gonzalez was found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of FDNY EMT Yadira Arroyo on Wednesday.
Arroyo was killed in March of 2017, while responding to a 911 call in the Bronx alongside her partner.
Gonzalez stole the ambulance, reversed and ended up mowing Arroyo down, then dragged her along the road as he drove off.
The 31-year-old did not deny hijacking the ambulance and did not deny killing Arroyo, the incident was all clearly captured on video from multiple angles which the jury watched again Wednesday.
But his attorneys argued that he didn't intend to kill her and also questioned his mental fitness, which led to dozens of hearings that delayed this trial again and again.
Gonzalez pleaded not guilty when he was indicted on first-degree murder charges.
He would claim he needed help with an injured hand, and under the influence of PCP, his lawyers argued, saw the ambulance as a way to get help, never intending to hurt the FDNY EMT.
But the jury, after requesting to see the videos again and requesting clarification of the definition of intent during deliberations, found him guilty of murder in the first degree.
"We waited six years, through ups and downs, anger, despair, emotion, agony, but we finally did it," said Arroyo's aunt Ali Acevedo-Hernandez.
The Bronx district attorney says justice was finally served.
"She was a first responder but more importantly she was a hero, out there doing her job, serving the public and to lose her life in this way," Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark said. "It means so much that today. Almost six years later, we finally finally get justice for her."
"For the last six years, the family of EMT Yadira Arroyo has lived with the heartbreak of her murder at the hands of Jose Gonzalez. Today, we are grateful to the Bronx district attorney and the jurors who have found him guilty - and know this justice is one step to help all those who loved Yadi heal," said Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh.
Arroyo was honored by family and friends in 2021 with a tribute in the Bronx.
There is now a playground named after her not far from where she died while in service to the city.
A tearful Monique Williams, her partner at the time, told Eyewitness News off camera that she retired from the department as the loss of her partner was too hard to bare.
"I want people to know that Yadir hasn't been forgotten," Acevedo-Hernandez said.
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The jury heard weeks of evidence in Gonzalez's case before entering the deliberation phase.
Gonzalez will be sentenced on April 5. He could face a prison sentence of 25 years to life.
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