Man sentenced to 23-year prison term in cold case murder

Paul Gutierrez pleads no contest to execution-style slaying

SAN ANTONIO – This summer, forensic evidence led police to the killer of a man whose body was dumped alongside the road in Bexar County, and on Thursday, the killer was sentenced to 23 years in prison.

A tip from a passing motorist led police to the body of Eduardo Beltran, 36, on a foggy January morning eight months ago. He had been shot twice in the head execution style.

After finding traces of Beltran’s blood in Paul Gutierrez’s van this summer, police arrested Gutierrez on murder charges.

RELATED: Evidence found in minivan links man to gang-related slaying

Gutierrez pleaded no contest. On Thursday, Judge Frank Castro, of the 399th District Court, sentenced him to 23 years in prison as part of a plea agreement.

During victim impact proceedings that followed the sentencing, Beltran’s friend, Desiree Ortiz, was allowed to address Gutierrez.

“I’ve hated you since the moment you took my best friend’s life," she said. “He was, like, my brother.”

She added that at this point, that she is unwilling to talk about forgiveness.

“Maybe eventually in time I’ll forgive you, but right now, I don’t, and I hope you rot in (expletive) hell," Ortiz said angrily.

Prosecutors indicated that the murder was gang- and drug-related.

According to court records, Beltran had recently been released from prison after serving an eight-year sentence for weapons possession, a fact Jessica Tovar, the mother of Beltran’s daughter, discussed as she addressed Gutierrez in court Thursday.

“You took my daughter’s dad away from her,” Tovar said, sobbing. “She waited eight years for him to get out of prison, and she had only four months with him and you took away — I hate you.”

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