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Capital Murder Trial Begins in Killing of BP Agent from La Feria

Gustavo Tijerina Sandoval sits between Alfredo Padilla (right) and a translator during Monday’s capital murder trial.

by Tony Vindell/LFN

The capital murder trial of a Mexican national charged with the killing of a Border Patrol agent from La Feria began last week in the 197th State District Court in Brownsville.

Five witnesses were called on Monday, May 14 by the prosecution led by Tom Cloudt with the Attorney General’s Office in Austin and Chuck Mattingly with the Willacy County District’s Attorney’s Office.

Javier Vega Jr., his father and their wives and three youngsters were fishing on Aug 3, 2014 when Gustavo Tijerina Sandoval and Ismael Hernandez Vallejo showed up along a canal about 3 miles east of FM 1420 near the small community of Santa Monica in eastern Willacy County.

Among the witnesses Vega’s father and a son who described the day Vega Jr. was gunned down as the two families spending a day fishing on one of their favorite spots in a remote area south of the levee off the farm to market road. The Vegas live in La Feria.

Tijerina and Hernandez were charged with capital murder of a peace officer, attempted capital murder, four counts of aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon and tampering with evidence.

Tijerina, who faces a count of capital murder and another for attempted murder, is believed to be the man who pulled the trigger on Vega and also hit Vega’s father in the hip.

Tijerina is being defended by Alfredo Padilla and Nat Perez.

The capital murder trial is being held in Judge Migdalia Lopez courtroom and is expected to last several weeks.

Although the case happened in Willacy County where Lopez has jurisdiction, she filed a change of venue to Cameron County because of so much media coverage.

Hernandez Vallejo’s trial is pending and is scheduled to be held in a state district court in Edinburg.

Agent Javier Vega, Jr.

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One Response to Capital Murder Trial Begins in Killing of BP Agent from La Feria

  1. Jose L. Salinas Reply

    May 26, 2018 at 6:11 am

    Can you please correct your article part referencing “off-duty” to read that Javier Vega, Jr.’s death “was re-determined to have been in the line of duty” per https://www.cbp.gov/about/in-memoriam/javier-vega-jr

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