A jury convicted a former taxi driver of manslaughter today, for beating a 57-year-old man to death in a 2011 parking-lot-rage incident.
Former AAA Taxi driver Gary Gene Mayo actually had a fare in his cab when he began swearing at James Fournier, who was out with his wife and grandchild when he almost hit Mayo's cab with his Kia SUV.
Mayo was driving a frequent passenger at the time, who had hired Mayo to drive him from his Avondale home to pick up some medications in Buckeye.
Court records didn't mention what Mayo said to Fournier, but his wife told police that Fournier stopped his car and got out to talk to Mayo, and say that "it was not polite to say those types of things to his wife."
Fournier's wife said Mayo then got out of his cab with an "evil look in his eye," and started to beat her husband, right there in the parking lot of an Avondale shopping plaza.
Court records cited witnesses who told police that Mayo and his passenger were both punching Fournier, and although police had recommended charges against the passenger, it doesn't appear that they were ever filed.
Still, witnesses said Mayo kicked and stomped Fournier's head after he fell to the ground, before he got back in the cab, with his fare, and took off.
Fournier was pronounced dead about an hour later.
Mayo was tracked down by police, who called AAA Taxi to track the GPS unit in Mayo's vehicle.
According to a Maricopa County Superior Court spokeswoman, the jury did find an aggravating factor in Mayo's conviction, which will be an issue at Mayo's March 12 sentencing.
Ray Stern contributed to this post.