Judge orders confessed killer's sentences stacked

Billy Tran sentenced to life in prison for murders of Robert and Beatriz Snyder

SAN ANTONIO – His trial on capital murder charges had just begun last month when Billy Tran, 50, accepted a plea deal.  He would plead guilty to murder, not capital murder, and be sentenced to life in prison.

As his sentencing hearing began Thursday Tran asked to withdraw his plea. Judge Lorina Rummel denied the request.

During the hearing a woman testified that Tran had raped her in 1989.  He was later convicted of that rape and also had done prison time in an assault case according to prosecutors.

Another witness, Gerald Pollock, testified that he was at the home of his business partner Robert Snyder on the night of Dec. 5, 2012 when Tran, who was also in business with Snyder, came to the home.

The two had been involved in a business dispute earlier that fall.

Pollock testified that he was upstairs in the home and heard gunshots.

He said he dashed downstairs and confronted the gunman.

“I hang on to the gun and we struggle,” Pollock testified. “I threw some punches at him.”

He said he eventually got control of the gun and was shocked to see who the attacker was.

“I know this person who shoot my friend,” he testified.

“Who was it?” asked prosecutor Cathryn Hayes. “It’s Bill Tran,” Pollock answered.

Judge Rummel denied a request from Tran’s lawyer that his life sentences be allowed to run concurrently. She ordered that they run consecutively, or stacked.

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