Man sentenced to 40 years in prison for trying to kill ex-girlfriend and child

Armando Tijerina

A day after finding Armando Tijerina, 45, guilty of trying to kill is ex-girlfriend and baby, jurors on Friday sentenced him to prison.

Tijerina was sentenced to 40 years in jail for attempted capital murder and 30 years for arson, which are to be served concurrently.

Additionally, he was sentenced to 10 years probation for the burglary and a $10,000 fine.

"We conceded the fact that there was a burglary and what we thought was attempted arson," said defense attorney Dexter Eaves. "We were disappointed with the guilty on capital murder, but again, we respect what the jury came back with."

The man who character witnesses described as a good father, dedicated catechism teacher, Little League coach and hardworking employee was found guilty of constructing and planting bottles with flammable liquids and an incendiary device with an electrical timer in the Victoria home of his ex-girlfriend, Vanessa Middaugh, 29, on May 9, 2009.

Middaugh's stepfather, Alfred Pernitza Jr., who testified during the trial, was happy with the verdict.

"Justice has been served," said Pernitza. "I don't hate the man, but I don't like the man."

Pernitza strongly credited the outcome of the case to Victoria County Sheriff's Office investigators and District Attorney Steve Tyler.

"He put the pieces of the puzzle together," said Pernitza.

Although the trial is over, Middaugh and her family said they are having a hard time moving on to the next chapter of their lives.

"I'm having to go and stay at other places for fear of my life and my son's life," said Middaugh.

"Every time I go out, I'm looking over my shoulder. I never had to do that before," said Sue Pernitza, Middaugh's mother of Victoria. "I think something has been taken from me."

The prosecution maintained that he built the bomb to keep form paying child support.

But he testified that he didn't want to harm anyone and wanted to have both Middaugh and his wife.

Tijerina can appeal the conviction.