Sentencing Hearing: Witnesses Say Sandoval Robbed Them at Gunpoint Before Fatal Shooting of Agent

Local News

The fate of the man found guilty of capital murder is still unknown.

As the state called several witnesses during the sentencing hearing of Gustavo Tijerina-Sandoval. 

Two of the witnesses believe Sandoval robbed them and their families at gunpoint, a month before the fatal shooting of off-duty border patrol agent Javier Vega Jr.

“We heard footsteps like running and that’s when we heard it was four men,” said Yanira Espinoza, the second witness called during the sentencing hearing.

“We just stood up and turned and it was four men with guns and two of them came down and one of them told us ‘Everyone on the floor’ with bad words,” Espinoza said. 

She said Sandoval pointed a gun at her head during the robbery and asked for belongings. He also pointed the gun at her son’s head, who was 14 years old at the time. 

Sandoval also allegedly asked for her husbands keys and wallet, and took off in their vehicle. 

Another witness, Pedro Machuca, said he had a similar experience, and that Sandoval told him “Give me your vehicle or I’ll shoot your wife and grandson,” while pointing a gun at their temples. 

Machuca’s grandson was three years old at the time. 

The defense argued that both witnesses’ testimonies were inconsistent with their police reports.

Sandoval was not present during the sentencing hearing.

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