Jury deliberates pilot's fate in drowning case

August 31, 2011 - 11:55 AM

HOUSTON (AP) — A jury has begun deliberating whether a Department of Homeland Security pilot lied about flying his helicopter low over two would-be illegal immigrants in the Rio Grande before one of the men drowned.

Prosecutors said Wednesday during closing arguments that surveillance video clearly shows the pilot flew over the men as they were crossing into the United States.

Officials say turbulence from the helicopter's rotor blades made Carlos Delgadillo Martinez lose his grip on an inner tube.

Lawyers for 41-year-old James Peters said prosecutors presented flimsy evidence and that the video doesn't clearly show how far above the men the helicopter actually was. They also said there's no proof of anyone drowning on the video.

Peters faces four counts of making false statements to investigators looking into the drowning death.