District Judge Starr Bauer imposed the sentence Tuesday on Javier Omar Hernandez.
Last week, visiting District Judge Thomas Lee sentenced Hernandez’s accomplice, Rene Cantu, to 40 years for his part in the same crime.
Both men pleaded guilty after agreeing to a plea bargain that would cap their sentences. Cantu’s sentence was limited to 45 years, and attorneys agreed to limit Hernandez’s sentence to 40 years.
José Aliseda, district attorney for Bee, Live Oak and McMullen counties, said the agreements kept the victims from having to testify in front of the men who had robbed them in their home at gunpoint.
Assistant District Attorney James Sales, who prosecuted the case in court Tuesday, told Bauer that Hernandez and Cantu broke into the victims’ home in the 1600 block of North Tyler Street with the intent of collecting money from a local drug dealer.
But the suspected gang members kicked in the wrong door, and when the home owner went to investigate the noise, he was confronted by two men holding handguns.
“They realized their mistake and still proceeded to pistol whip the husband and threaten the wife, who were made to lie on the floor while their home was ransacked,” Aliseda said this week.
The two men then stole several electronic items, including a computer.
Texas Ranger James Bennett and Beeville Police Department Detective Art Gamez investigated the crime and managed to track down the two suspects.
Later, Cantu was taken into custody in Corpus Christi by the two lawmen. They were accompanied by agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, deputies with the U.S. Marshal’s Service and officers with the Corpus Christi Police Department.
Hernandez, who was 22 at the time, was later stopped for a traffic violation and arrested.
Aliseda said that Sales argued during the sentencing hearing that “in addition to the property, the defendants had robbed the husband, wife and their children, who were home at the time, of their peace of mind.”
Sales asked Bauer to hand down the maximum sentence on the defendant to protect all citizens of Bee County and to deter criminals who might be thinking of committing a similar crime.
“Judge Bauer and Judge Lee sent their own messages loud and clear,” Aliseda said.
Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.