Murder of US Border Patrol agent Brian Terry sees final conviction after 12 years
The seventh defendant in the 2010 murder of US Border Patrol agent Brian Terry was sentenced Wednesday to 50 years in prison, officials announced on Thursday.
Jesus Rosario Favela-Astorga pleaded guilty to Terry’s murder in April and was the final defendant to be convicted and sentenced in the case, according to the Department of Justice.
Favela-Astorga was charged with second-degree murder, the DOJ said.
“Today is for Brian Terry, and his loved ones and colleagues who waited 11 years to see justice come to all who were involved in his tragic murder,” said US Attorney Randy Grossman of the Southern District of California. “We hope it fulfills the promise to everyone who protects us. We’ll relentlessly pursue justice against those who do them harm for as long as it takes.”
Near midnight on December 14, 2010, Terry and his team attempted to arrest Favela-Astorga’s robbery crew in a rural area north of Nogales when a member of the crew fired at agents, hitting Terry in the back and severing his spinal cord and aorta, according to a written DOJ news release.
Terry then called out to a fellow agent exclaiming, “Willie, I’m hit! I can’t feel my legs,” the release stated. While under fire, the other agents attempted to save Terry but were unsuccessful.
As part of his guilty plea, Favela-Astorga, 41, admitted that he was one of several armed bandits who traveled from Mexico to the US to “hunt” for marijuana smugglers to rob. Terry and other agents were on extended deployment in the desert to apprehend robbery crews such as Favela-Astorga’s, the Justice Department said.
The bandits at the scene were armed with four AK-47-style assault rifles and an AR-15 assault rifle and had food to last for days.
After the shooting, Favela-Astorga, among others, fled to Mexico and left behind Manuel Osorio-Arellanes, who had been shot in the stomach by agents. In 2017, Mexican authorities arrested Favela-Astorga and he was extradited to the US in January 2020, according to the DOJ.
The US Marshals Service, the Mexican Navy, Mexico’s Office of the Attorney General and the DOJ’s Office of International Affairs helped with Favela-Astorga’s apprehension and extradition.
“For over the last decade, the FBI and our partners have worked to bring justice to all involved in the killing of agent Brian Terry,” said Chris Ormerod, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Phoenix Field Office.
“We hope today’s final sentence will help bring a degree of comfort to Agent Terry’s family in knowing that all the individuals responsible for his murder have been brought to justice.”
The case was prosecuted by the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California after the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona was recused.
Osorio-Arellanes was subsequently convicted and sentenced in 2014 to 30 years in prison after helping identify other members of the robbery crew, according to the DOJ.
The other members of the robbery crew at the scene were Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes, Ivan Soto-Barraza, and Jesus Lionel Sanchez-Meza. All three were arrested in Mexico years after the shooting, the DOJ said.
Soto-Barraza and Sanchez-Meza were extradited to the US in 2014, convicted a year later, and sentenced to life in prison, according to the DOJ. Osorio-Arellanes was extradited to the US in 2018, convicted at trial in February 2019, and sentenced to life in prison, the DOJ stated.
This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Final defendant sentenced in Border Patrol agent Brian Terry’s murder