Men sentenced to life in prison for gang-related murder
June 1, 2011 at 1:01 a.m.
John Anthony Trevino and Gilbert Lamas were sentenced on Wednesday to life in prison for murder.
On Tuesday, Trevino, 33, also known as "Chuke," and Lamas, 32, also known as "Kilo G.," were found guilty on charges of murder and engaging in organized criminal activity, which stem from the June 2002 shooting death of Timothy "Tim" Hunt, 22, of Victoria outside his family's home at 212 Ekstrum St.
While Trevino received a life sentence for murder and 50 years for engaging in organized criminal activity, Lamas received life sentences for both of the charges.
The men's sentences are to run concurrently.
Both men also received $20,000 fines.
"I think it was suitable," said Victoria County District Attorney Steve Tyler. "The message to the community is, jurors from this community take violent crime and gang crime seriously. If proven guilty, they will hold those accountable to the fullest extent of the law. Those in gangs, take note. You need to go to a community that is friendlier to gangs. That's not Victoria."
Trevino; Ramiro "Eddie" Salas, 28; Oscar Ramirez; and Jeff Roach were all accused of being in the car during the drive-by shooting that left Hunt dead, while Lamas was charged with not only ordering the shooting, but also providing them with the weapons necessary to do it and helping to hide evidence afterward.
During the punishment hearing, Tom Copeland, a lieutenant with the Victoria County Sheriff's Office, testified about the rehabilitation process, or lack thereof of gang members. Holly Jedlicka, crime scene unit supervisor for the Victoria Police Department, testified to the men's past criminal histories.
Trevino is serving a 20-year sentence for his involvement in the 2003 shooting of 6-year-old Robert Conchola, while Lamas is serving 40 years in the Conchola case, as well as doing time for two federal cases.
The men's latest sentences will not begin until the conclusion of their current ones.
Although Lamas had been found guilty, defense attorney Alex Luna, who represented Lamas, continued to proclaim his client's innocence until the end.
"Oscar Ramirez is the one who fired the shot that killed Tim Hunt," said Luna, who argued that Ramirez's testimony implicating the other men had varied throughout the years.
Meanwhile, defense attorney James R. Beeler, who represented Trevino, asked the jury to look beyond his client's shortfalls.
"He made a lot of mistakes. He didn't join the Boy Scouts when he was a kid. He hooked up with a gang. It was a bad choice," said Beeler, who informed jurors his client had busied himself throughout the trial reading Bible scriptures. "John was told what to do under the threat of death."
He continued, "This John Trevino is not the John Trevino who was out there on June 9, 2002."
No witnesses spoke on behalf of Trevino or Lamas.
Both the guilty verdicts and substantial prison time brought some solace to Hunt's family.
"I'm just happy about the outcome. It's been a long nine years," said Nancy Hunt, Tim Hunt's mother. "Maybe now we can find closure and go on with our lives, and continue raising the grandchildren my son left me."
Hunt had three children, who are now 8, 10 and 11.
Beeler and family members of Lamas and Trevino all declined to comment on the men's guilty verdicts or sentencing outcomes.
Luna was not available for comment.