Brothers Spared Death Penalty in Videotaped Murder
TYLER, Texas (AP) _ Two brothers were sentenced to lengthy prison terms for killing a constable in a crime partially recorded on videotape.
After 2 1/2 hours of deliberations Thursday, jurors recommended life in prison without parole for Baldemar Sambrano Villarreal, 29, and 40 years in prison for his half brother, Reynaldo, 25.
U.S. Chief District Judge Robert M. Parker said the punishment was too lenient for the older brother.
″I appreciate your service, but must say that I disagree with your decision to not impose the death penalty in the case of Baldemar Villarreal,″ the judge told the jury.
The two were convicted 10 days earlier by the same jury after three days of testimony, which ended with the panel viewing a dramatic videotape of the brothers and Jesus ″Jessie″ Zambrano, 23, attacking constable Darrell Lunsford, 47, in January.
The constable started the video camera mounted on the dash of his patrol car before getting out to question the suspects during a routine traffic stop in Garrison in northeast Texas.
The camera captured his attack by the men but his slaying, with his own pistol, occurred out of the frame. However, moments later, Baldemar Villarreal was shown carrying the pistol.
Zambrano pleaded guilty April 11 to murdering a law enforcement officer during a drug-related crime and awaits sentencing. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Zambrano testified that he and the Villarreals were driving a load of marijuana from Houston to Chicago when Lunsford stopped their car and began searching it.