Man guilty of all charges in golf cart murder trial

Posted at 6:00 AM, July 2, 2021 and last updated 1:45 PM, June 20, 2023

By Court TV

LOUISVILLE, Ky.  — A jury has found Lazaro Pozo Illas guilty of all charges in the death of 45-year-old Christopher Schulz:

  • Count 1: Murder
  • Count 2: First-degree assault
  • Counts 3 & 4: First-degree wanton endangerment
  • Count 5: Operating a motor vehicle while under the influence
  • Count 6: Driving without a license

Upon reaching a verdict in the guilt phase of the trial, the jury was also presented a case in the penalty phase of the trial against Pozo Illas. In their penalty phase verdict, the jury recommended a prison sentence totaling 30 years. Sentencing has been scheduled for August 10.





LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Court TV) — A man accused of killing one person and injuring another while driving drunk is facing life in prison.

45-year-old Christopher Schulz died at the hospital after Lazaro Pozo Illas drove through a crosswalk and struck his golf cart, prosecutors say. Schulz’s passenger, Brian Hovekamp, was also injured in the August 11, 2019, incident.

Bystanders say Pozo Illas was speeding in a 25 miles per hour zone when he struck the cart, drove off the road and stopped in a grassy ditch. He and two other men then reportedly tried to flee but witnesses urged them to stay.

According to court documents, the defendant and his friends had been drinking for hours before the incident. He allegedly registered a .173 breath alcohol level at the scene and .160 when he was tested about two hours later, which is twice the legal limit.

Pozo Illas will stand trial for six counts:

    • Count 1: Murder
    • Count 2: First-degree assault
    • Counts 3 & 4: First-degree wanton endangerment
    • Count 5: Operating a motor vehicle while under the influence
    • Count 6: Driving without a license

His defense has challenged expert testimony about alcohol elimination rates, including projections about his BAC during the incident. The defense is also arguing the Schulz and Hovekamp had the duty to yield the right of way to the defendant, saying a yellow diamond-shaped sign with the golf cart logo was not a proper yield sign and the golf cart was not a motor vehicle under Kentucky traffic regulations. Prosecutors say surveillance footage shows the golf cart was already inside the crosswalk as Pozo Illas approached.


DAY 1 6/29/21

DAY 2 6/30/21

  • Jury sees several videos showing defendant’s interactions with police, including field sobriety tests and blood being drawn for alcohol content readings
  • Eyewitnesses describe bloody aftermath of crash
  • Forensic pathologist says blood alcohol readings taken from the defendant two and three hours after the crash suggest he was under the influence of (intoxicated by) alcohol during the crash, meaning he sustained some degree of central nervous system depression
  • Defense witness called out of order to show video of defendant’s driving route; outside of jury’s presence, another video shown of same route in June 2021 with new yield signs and markers in crosswalk
  • WATCH: 6/30/21 Golf Cart Murder Trial: Day 2

DAY 3 7/1/21

  • Commonwealth rests its case after calling 16 witnesses over two days
  • Defense declines to call additional witnesses or call defendant to the stand
  • Judge denies defendant’s motion for directed verdict
  • Survivor Brian Hovekamp – driver of the golf cart — gets choked up as defense lawyer Michael Lemke presses him to recall whether he thought he had the right of way or checked for traffic before driving into the crosswalk and into the defendant’s path
  • Wife of victim Chris Schulz tears up recalling the moment a doctor delivered the news of her husband’s death
  • Officers break down data collected from car about rate of speed
  • Judge denies defense request to give jury instruction on reckless homicide
  • WATCH: 7/1/21 Golf Cart Murder Trial: Day 3

DAY 4 7/2/21


Court TV field producer Emanuella Grinberg and Ivy Brown of Court TV Digital contributed to this report. Originally published June 29, 2021.

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