Federal grand jury indicts two men in fatal tractor-trailer incident in San Antonio

Homero Zamorano Jr., Christian Martinez could face death penalty if found guilty; US Attorney General to determine whether to seek capital punishment

A federal grand jury in San Antonio on Wednesday indicted Homero Zamorano Jr., 46, of Pasadena, and Christian Martinez, 28, of Palestine, in connection with the June fatal tractor-trailer incident on the city’s Southwest Side that resulted in the deaths of 53 people and 11 more injured. (Copyright 2022 by KSAT - All rights reserved.)

SAN ANTONIO – A federal grand jury in San Antonio on Wednesday indicted two men charged in the June fatal tractor-trailer incident on the city’s Southwest Side that resulted in the deaths of 53 people and 11 more injured.

According to a federal indictment, Homero Zamorano Jr., 46, of Pasadena, and Christian Martinez, 28, of Palestine, are charged with one count of conspiracy to transport illegal aliens resulting in death; one count of transportation of illegal aliens resulting in death; one count of conspiracy to transport aliens resulting in serious bodily injury and placing lives in jeopardy; and one count of transportation of illegal aliens resulting in serious bodily injury and placing lives in jeopardy.

If the men are found guilty of the charge of conspiracy to transport and transport resulting in death, they would face a maximum penalty of life in prison or the death penalty, a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas said.

Attorney General Merrick Garland will decide whether to seek the death penalty at a later time.

The defendants face up to 20 years in prison for the transporting resulting in serious bodily injury charges. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the US Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

According to federal officials, the two men discussed the smuggling incident from a cellphone belonging to Zamorano, who is also believed to have driven the trailer on June 27 from Laredo to Quintana Road in San Antonio.

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David Ibañez has been managing editor of KSAT.com since the website's launch in October 2000.