Second robber convicted after victim fought off two attackers with a hammer

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CENTENNIAL, Colo. — Two men who tried to rob a family gas station but were defeated by a hammer-wielding store clerk are headed to prison after a conviction announced on Friday.

Nicholas Zapata was found guilty of attempted second degree murder and first degree assault for the 2012 attack on Littleton Neighborhood Food and Gas. The jury found that Zapata and his accomplice Jose Murillo tried to kill and rob a clerk, successfully stabbing him in the chest. But the man survived and hit Murillo in the head with a hammer, dropping him to the ground and prompting Zapata to flee.

Murillo pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit second degree murder and was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Zapata will face 10 to 32 years following his conviction.

“Despite the challenges presented in this case, the victim’s bravery sealed the conviction,” said Deputy District Attorney Todd Bluth, who prosecuted the case. “The victim stood his ground, using the only weapon available to him. His quick thinking and courage kept him alive during his ordeal.”

“Justice for the victim was served in part in his family’s business and in part in court, as the cowardly Zapata will face more than a decade in the prison,” District Attorney George Brauchler said.