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Sandoval Found Guilty of Capitol Murder

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

by Tony Vindell/LFN

A Mexican national charged with killing an off-duty Border Patrol agent from La Feria was found guilty on a count of capital murder and a second count of attempted murder.

A jury issued its verdict against Gustavo Tijerina Sandoval on Wednesday, May 30 in the 197th State District Court in Brownsville two weeks after the capital murder trial got under way.

Javier Vega Jr., his father and their wives and three youngsters were fishing on Aug 3, 2014 when Tijerina Sandoval and a second man, 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 favorites 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 faced 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 was defended by Alfredo Padilla and Nat Perez.

The capital murder trial was held in Judge Migdalia Lopez courtroom and lasted two 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’ trial is pending and is scheduled to be held in a state district court in Edinburg.

Witnesses were called 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.

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