AP NEWS

Man stops trial, pleads guilty

March 9, 2019

A man who spent three years on the run during the near nine-year span of a home invasion criminal case reached a plea deal Thursday two days after his jury trial began.

The Brownsville Police Department arrested Jorge Omar Cervantes in 2012 for his role in a brash Dec. 10, 2010, break-in of a local doctor’s home where he and three other men held five people against their will, including the doctor, stealing jewelry from a safe in the home, along with $250,000, which he forced the victim to withdraw from several banks.

Cervantes agreed to plead guilty to robbery and burglary of a habitation, along with failure to appear, and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

In exchange for the plea, the Cameron County District Attorney’s Office dismissed five counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a count of burglary of a habitation with the intention to commit another felony and engaging in organized criminal activity.

Cervantes last went to trial in Nov. 2017, but former 197th state District Judge Migdalia Lopez granted a mistrial after the Brownsville Police Department revealed that a file of evidence that had been lost during a move wasn’t turned over to Cervantes’ attorney. Once it was found, the week the trial began, a police investigator turned it over.

The man previously pleaded no contest to the charges on Nov. 26, 2012, but Lopez rejected the plea on April 29, 2013, because Cervantes failed to pay a substantial sum toward restitution.

A few months later, on July 31, 2013, Cervantes failed to show up at a hearing in his case and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

The case was nearly dismissed for want of prosecution in July 2016, but before that happened, authorities detained Cervantes on Aug. 16, 2016, at an international bridge in Brownsville.

mreagan@brownsvilleherald.com