San Antonio man sentenced to 50 years in prison for shooting death of convenience store owner

Zion Talavera, 22, takes plea deal on lesser charge of murder

Zion Talavera is accused of being one of two men who went on a string of aggravated robberies in 2019 and shot 58-year-old store owner Gemunu Gamarachchilage.

SAN ANTONIO – A capital murder case ended in a plea deal for a 22-year-old San Antonio man.

Zion Talavera is accused of being one of two men who went on a string of aggravated robberies in 2019 and shot 58-year-old store owner Gemunu Gamarachchilage.

Gamarchchilage was in the hospital for more than 500 days trying to recover from the numerous injuries sustained during the shooting but eventually died.

The victim’s common-law wife, Linda Lopez, spoke in court about how they lost everything during the time he was in the hospital.

“Once we lost our business we lost our home,” Lopez said. “We lost everything, and I was homeless living out of my car for 10 months.”

Talavera, who was 18 years old at the time of the incident, would later be charged with capital murder after Gamarchchilage’s death.

On Thursday, Talavera took a plea deal and was sentenced 50 years on the lesser charge of murder.

Talavera had previously been sentenced to 20 years for aggravated robbery. Both of the sentences will run concurrently and he will also have to pay more that $2 million in restitution.

Talavera must serve half of his sentence before he’s eligible for parole.

Th co-defendant in this case, Armando Narvaez, has also taken a plea deal in this case and will formally be sentenced on Oct. 13, according to court records.

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About the Authors:

Erica Hernandez is an Emmy award-winning journalist with15 years of experience in the broadcast news business. Erica has covered a wide array of stories all over Central and South Texas. She's currently the court reporter and cohost of the podcast South Texas Crime Stories.

Misael started at KSAT-TV as a photojournalist in 1987.