Man convicted of killing childhood friend sentenced to 99 years in prison

Juan Ramiro Martinez shot seven times, throat slashed

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SAN ANTONIO – After deliberating for a little more than an hour Monday, a jury sentenced George Oscar Pena, 43, to 99 years in prison for the April 12, 2018, murder of his neighbor and childhood friend, Juan Ramiro Martinez.

The jury deliberated for more than four hours on Friday afternoon and then again Monday morning before returning a guilty verdict.

According to testimony in Pena’s trial, the men argued and got into a physical fight after Pena accused Martinez, 43, of stealing from him.

Pena said in court that Martinez had a knife, and Pena grabbed his .22 caliber rifle. Pena said when he pointed it at Martinez with his finger on the trigger, Martinez held onto the barrel and the gun fired seven times.

Pena claimed that Martinez’s throat was slashed as they wrestled for the knife.

Martinez’s wife, Pearl Pena, was the only witness called during testimony in the trial’s punishment phase.

She testified that the couple was separated at the time, and she did not know that her husband had been murdered until a week later when relatives told her. She said that initially, she was skeptical.

“I was in denial because both him and his father have the same name,” Pearl Pena said in court.

Previous Stories: 

Man accused of killing childhood friend, stuffing his body in barrel found guilty of murder

Accused killer: 'I did not shoot him'

ME's office: Murder victim shot 7 times, stabbed 13

Murder victim's body found in 55-gallon barrel; suspect's trial begins

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