2 men found guilty of murder
May 31, 2011 at 12:31 a.m.
Updated June 1, 2011 at 1:01 a.m.
A jury found John Anthony Trevino and Gilbert Lamas guilty of murder and organizing in criminal activity in the June 2002 death of Timothy "Tim" Hunt.
The jury returned its verdict after less than 30 minutes of deliberations on Tuesday afternoon.
"I know the family has waited long enough. I think they saw today that Tim Hunt had value. The sheriff's office and police department committed a lot of resources toward justice for Tim Hunt, as did the jury and the court," said Victoria County District Attorney Steve Tyler. "People are being held accountable."
On June 8, 2002, Hunt was shot while standing outside his family's home at 212 Ekstrum St.
Trevino, 33, also known as "Chuke;" 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, 32, also known as "Kilo G.," was charged with not only ordering the shooting, but also providing them with the weapons necessary to do it.
All the men are members of the Hermanos Pistoleros Latinos street gang.
During the last day of testimony on Tuesday, Julian Cruz, who attended the party where Hunt was shot, testified that Fred Valdez, a blacklisted HPL member who was the intended target, left him with a 9 mm handgun before leaving the party.
Cruz told jurors the night of the shooting, he saw a Lumina hit the brakes in front of Valdez's house and roll down the windows before shots were fired.
When defense attorney James Beeler asked Cruz who fired shots first, Cruz replied, "I'm not even sure about it. Everyone was intoxicated at that party."
During the shootout, Cruz said he was running backward, shooting six to nine rounds behind him.
"The only reason I shot back was for my protection," said Cruz. "I was at the wrong place at the wrong time. I shouldn't have been there. I should have stayed home."
While on the stand, Cruz refused to answer some questions because his attorney was not present.
However, he was instructed by Judge Stephen Williams that he was not entitled to an attorney in this situation.
Cruz is serving a 10-year sentence for violation of probation for a manufacture/delivery of a controlled substance charge.
"Tim Hunt died because someone in the yard started firing, and someone in the car returned fire," said Beeler during closing arguments. "We don't know what happened because the state didn't do its job proving beyond a reasonable doubt what happened."
A sentencing hearing for the men is scheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesday.
Tyler said he will ask for substantial prison time for the men, who are not eligible for probation. There is a possibility the men's sentences will be stacked on top of sentences they are already serving.
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.