Gustavo Tijerina-Sandoval formally sentenced to death for murder of Border Patrol agent
Gustavo Tijerina-Sandoval appeared in court Tuesday for his formal sentencing, almost a week after a Cameron County jury sentenced him to death for the murder of Border Patrol Agent Javier Vega Jr.
The courtroom was filled with dozens of Border Patrol agents and other law enforcement, who were there in support of the Vega family.
Judge Migdalia Lopez presented the verdict, sentencing Tijerina-Sandoval to death for the capital murder charge and life for attempted capital murder.
At that hearing, Marie Vega, the mother of the Border Patrol agent Javier Vega Jr., read a final statement addressed to Tijerina-Sandoval.
"I hope you spend the rest of your time on death row thinking about the day you are finally put to death,”said Marie Vega. She went on to say, “You sentenced yourself to the death penalty. Tijerina, you broke the law. You killed an innocent man. You thought you were so brave and tough, now be brave and tough and suck it up and die like you need to.”
Tijerina-Sandoval was not present during her statement. As Judge Lopez dismissed the court, all Border Patrol agents got in line and exchanged hugs with the Vega family.
"Justice has been served in the Javier Vega murder," said Manuel Padilla Jr, Chief Patrol Agent. "Although this doesn't bring our agent back, it just shows the justice system does work."
Although this trial is over, the Willacy County District Attorney's Office is now preparing for the trial of Ismael Hernandez-Vallejo, a co-defendant in this case.
Hernandez-Vallegjo's trial is expected to start in August. Prosecutors will also seek the death penalty in that case.