San Antonio – A pair of cousins accused in the 2018 shooting deaths of a teenager and an elderly man were each sentenced to more than two decades in prison Friday.
The 22-year sentence for Andres Martinez and 24-year sentence for Juan Martinez were in line with the plea deals they struck with their separate, special prosecutors.
However, they may no longer have to uphold their sides of those agreements -- namely, testifying against a third suspect in the capital murder case, Richard Montez.
All three men were arrested in February 2018 after a shooting and standoff in the Cassiano Homes Apartments.
According to their indictments, the three shot Benito Gallegos, 69, during a robbery and then fired in the direction of a residence, hitting Angel Gebara, 14, in his father’s kitchen.
The trio barricaded themselves inside a home, police said, but ended up coming out without incident.
After Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales recused himself in 2019 because of a top staff member’s previous involvement as a defense attorney for Andres Martinez, different special prosecutors were appointed for each of the three cases.
The Martinez cousins both cut deals in 2021 to allow them to plead down to a murder charge, instead of capital murder, in exchange for their testimony.
Their sentencing hearings had been delayed until Montez could go to trial, which was supposed to happen Aug. 1.
But when that time came, the special prosecutor, Miguel Najera, said “essential” witnesses, including the now-retired lead detective, were unavailable. He requested a continuance, but District Judge Stephanie Boyd denied his motion.
So instead of going to trial, Najera dismissed the case, with the intent of refiling it.
Najera said Friday via text that he still intends to re-indict Montez, but could not give a specific date for when the case would be presented to a grand jury.
In the meantime, Montez has been freed.
READ MORE: Man accused of killing two goes free - for now
Since there is no longer an active court case against Montez and the cousins have already been sentenced, attorneys involved in the Martinez cousins’ cases say the pair aren’t required to testify anymore.
Najera said he still plans to push ahead with the case against Montez, though, and one of the defense attorneys for Juan Martinez said his client would still testify if asked.
Gebara’s mother, Angela Medina, was in the 187 District Court for both Andres and Juan Martinez’s sentencing.
“I have to go to the cemetery to celebrate my son’s birthday, to - Christmas. Y’all destroyed my life. Y’all destroyed my family’s life, my kids’,” she told Juan Martinez during his sentencing.
Medina said the emotional weight she has been carrying since her son’s murder is “a little bit less” now that Juan and Andres Martinez have been sentenced.
“But the one - the third one is still there. It’s like, ‘am I going to get that third justice?’ You know, am I going to - because they just let him out. I don’t understand it,” Medina said.