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Punishment phase of Tijerina-Sandoval murder trial begins after guilty verdict

More witnesses have taken the stand at the punishment phase in the murder trial of Gustavo Tijerina Sandoval.

More witnesses have taken the stand in the punishment phase of the Gustavo Tijerina-Sandoval murder trial.

A jury on Wednesday found Tijerina-Sandoval guilty of the murder of Border Patrol agent Javier Vega Jr.

On Thursday, nearly five witnesses took the stand; among them was Yanira Espinoza and Victor Villarreal.

Espinoza explained she was fishing with her three children and her husband in Rio Hondo by the levee in July 2014.

Espinoza said that four men approached her family at gun point, demanding them to drop to the ground and hand over their belongings including their car keys. No one was hurt and shots were not fired.

Villarreal testified having the same encounter around the area in June, however, his experience was frightening.

"They were like, 'Give us your keys and your wallets, get on the floor," Villarreal said. " They got us on the floor and shot three times before they left."

Both incidents happened just two months before Vega Jr's murder.

A total of 12 witnesses are expected to take the stand in the punishment phase of the trial that will resume Friday.

Tijerina-Sandoval is facing the death penalty.

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