A Texas man has been convicted of killing his wife, after first killing her father and sister specifically so he could lure to her funeral to killer her, the Independent is reporting.
Samuel Velasco Gurrola, 41, faces life in prison for the three murders, which police say he carried out, with the help of two of his siblings, to prevent his wife, Ruth Sagredo, from testifying against him in a pending sexual assault trial.
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Back in 2005, according to Vice News, Sagredo filed for divorce from Gurrola after a year of marriage, alleging a pattern of “outrageous conduct.” As it happened, on the very same day she left her husband — January 12, 2005 — a grand jury indicted Gurrola for sexually abusing a young family member. Once Gurrola learned that Sagredo was the only witness the prosecution had against him in the sexual assault case, he conspired — along with his brother Emmanuel and sister Dalia to have her killed, according to Special Agent Thomas Salloway of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.
“They conspired to kill Ruth Sagredo because, if she was killed, she would not be able to testify in that case.”
Gurrola’s plan was to lure Sagredo to Juarez, Mexico – a violent border town, across the border from El Paso, Texas, that is besieged by violence from drug cartels, as well as corrupt cops and politicians. Should Sagredo be killed in Juarez, Gurrola reasoned, she would appear to be one of the hundreds of victims of Juarez drug violence, says Jason Kaunas, an agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration.
“They wanted to make it look like a cartel hit.”
On October 3, 2008, three masked men stormed the home of Ruth’s 69-year-old father, a prominent Juarez businessman named Francisco Maria Sagredo Villareal, and robbed him of $140,000 before killing him. However, Ruth Sagredo, perhaps sensing that she was being trapped, did not attend the funeral.
Their plans having failed, Gurrola and his team then turned their attention to Ruth’s sister, Cinthia Sagredo. On November 20, 2008, Cinthia was shot and killed in front of the Posada San Nicolás hotel in Juárez, where she worked. Ruth went to her sister’s funeral two days later – a decision that would cost her her life.
On November 22, 2008, gunmen ambushed Cinithia Sagredo’s funeral procession, of which Ruth was a part. Authorities say multiple shooters fired at least 20 rounds from AK-47’s into her vehicle.
“Several armed men in two separate vehicles drove up to her vehicle, boxed her in and opened fire, killing her inside.”
Even though Rush Sagredo was murdered in Mexico, authorities in the U.S. were able to pin criminal charges him by invoking laws that forbid conspiring to commit murder in a foreign country, as well as “conspiracy to cause travel in foreign commerce in the commission of murder for hire.”
It only took a jury about three hours to find Gurrola guilty on three counts of conspiracy to commit murder, three counts of conspiracy to cause foreign travel for murder for hire and one count of murder for the death.
Gurrola’s attorney says he plans to file an appeal.
“[The jury] deliberated for a long time but they did reach a decision based more on the emotional aspect, tugging on the heartstrings, than looking at necessarily some of the contradictory facts.”
If sentenced to the maximum possible penalties on all counts, Gurrola will spend the rest of his life in prison with no chance of parole. He is scheduled to be sentenced in January, 2017.
[Featured Image by El Paso Police Department]