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Gang members to serve total of 70 years in prison; third member arrested

By Gheni_Platenburg
Feb. 2, 2012 at 7:01 p.m.
Updated Feb. 2, 2012 at 8:03 p.m.

Two Victoria gang members on Thursday accepted a plea deal that collectively will put them in prison for 70 years.

Robert "Stutter" Lindstrom and Robert "Wedo" Saldana were found guilty on Monday of conspiring to cause serious bodily harm to Paul "Pow Wow" Benavides by shooting him in September 2006.

All three men are members of the Hermanos Pistoleros Latinos street gang.

Instead of letting the jury decide punishment, the men opted to sign plea agreements in a Thursday morning hearing conducted before District Judge Robert Cheshire.

Saldana was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Lindstrom, who agreed to plead guilty to his involvement in the 2006 and a July 2005 murder attempts on Benavides, was sentenced to 40 years on each count.

His sentences will run concurrently.

As part of their plea agreements, both men also agreed to pay court costs and have it reflected in their records that they are members of the HPL and that they used a deadly weapon during the commission of their crimes.

They will be eligible for parole consideration after serving half their sentences.

"This was a cold case. We were able to breathe life into it," said Victoria County District Attorney Steve Tyler. "I am satisfied with the results."

Tyler said he made the plea recommendations based on the strength of the cases.

Alex Luna, Lindstrom's attorney, and Bill White, Saldana's attorney, declined to comment about the outcome of the cases.

Tyler offered this message to those people involved in gangs.

"It's not glamour. It's not Hollywood. It doesn't make you rich," he said. "It makes you spend your whole life or at least a big chunk of it in prison."

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