The San Miguel man accused of shooting a woman he impregnated in 2009 was found guilty of attempted voluntary manslaughter Monday.
Steven Smith, 27, who trembled and hyperventilated in the San Luis Obispo Superior Court room, was found not guilty of attempted murder, attempted murder of a fetus and burglary charges.
He faces up to 181⁄2 years in prison.
Smith was accused of shooting Gina Stanko, 35, in the head and hand with a .22-caliber pistol Nov. 6, 2009, in her Paso Robles home. During the trial, Smith was described as a narcissistic womanizer by prosecutors and characterized by his defense as a man emotionally driven to violence by the woman he feared.
Sitting at the defense table Monday with attorney Ilan Funke-Bilu, Smith sobbed, his head down, balled fists pushing tissues into his eyes, while waiting for the verdict to be read.
At one point he turned to Funke-Bilu and, between gasps and pants, said, “Thanks so much for your help.”
The courtroom was packed when the jury returned with its verdict around 4:30 Monday afternoon. Seven deputies from the Sheriff’s Department stood guard throughout the courtroom.
Friends and family of Smith cried when the verdict was read — smiling through the tears at each not-guilty verdict.
Others in the courtroom, there for Stanko, shook their heads in disbelief.
Stanko’s father, stepmother and cousin gathered outside the courthouse after the verdict, talking with Stanko on the phone because she was not in the courtroom.
“He needs to get more time,” Gus Stanko said. “My daughter was pregnant. When you shoot someone in the jaw, finger and hand, you are not fooling around. He’s a punk, not a man.”
Her cousin, Debbie Garcia, said the only comfort was watching Smith walk away in handcuffs.
“To see him get handcuffed was a comfort to the heart,” Garcia said. “Just knowing that he wouldn’t be out walking around helped.”
The jury of nine women and three men had been deliberating on the case for nearly a week and heard the case over the past month, leading Judge John Trice to compliment the panel: “This has been a long case, an emotional case, and I’m impressed by your patience.”
After hearing the verdict, Funke-Bilu asked that Smith be given an exemption to remain free on bail before his sentencing. Prosecutor Andy Cadena argued that Smith had used a gun on a pregnant victim and urged Trice to revoke Smith’s bail.
Citing the seriousness of the charges, Trice agreed with the prosecution and remanded Smith to County Jail.
“I don’t feel good,” said Funke-Bilu shortly after Trice dismissed the jury. “I’m very disappointed the jury didn’t fully acquit.” During the trial he called the investigation the “worst that San Luis Obispo has ever seen.”
Smith was also convicted of two enhancements: creating great bodily injury and use of a gun in commission of a crime. He will be sentenced March 17.