Soldier convicted of Cypress hotel shooting

26-year-old Army specialist convicted in Orange County murder

An Orange County jury on Friday convicted a 26-year-old Army specialist of murdering a friend in a Cypress hotel during a night of drinking, authorities said.

Steven Matthew LeClaire Jr. had left his Army post without permission in February 2011 and was in a room at the Cypress Lodge on Lincoln Avenue with two friends and his father, according to the Orange County district attorney’s office.

The district attorney's office said LeClaire pulled out a gun and shot Marques Murray, 24, in the arm and chest, killing him, and fired multiple shots at his father and the other friend, both of whom survived.

LeClaire walked out of the hotel room and promptly surrendered to police.

His apparent target had been his father, as a result of the belief that he had mistreated LeClaire’s 14-year-old sister.

The jury found LeClaire guilty of one count of second-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder, the district attorney’s office said. He could face life in prison when he is sentenced in October.

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