No death penalty sought against trucker in fatal smuggling case

By Tyson Fisher, Land Line staff writer | Tuesday, September 26, 2017

A federal grand jury in Texas recently returned a superseding indictment regarding the trucker accused of knowingly transporting illegal aliens earlier this year that led to the deaths of 10 people, according to an U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement news release.

U.S. Attorney Richard L. Durbin Jr. announced on Sept. 20 that the government will not be seeking the death penalty against James Matthew Bradley Jr. Along with alleged co-conspirator Pedro Silva-Segura, Bradley faces these charges:

  • One count of conspiracy to transport and harbor illegal aliens for financial gain resulting in death;
  • One count of conspiracy to transport and harbor illegal aliens for financial gain resulting in serious bodily injury and placing lives in jeopardy; and
  • Two counts of transporting illegal aliens resulting in serious bodily injury and placing lives in jeopardy.

Additionally, Bradley was charged alone with transporting illegal aliens resulting in death, transporting illegal aliens resulting in serious bodily injury and placing lives in jeopardy and possession a firearm by a convicted felon.

Bradley faces a life sentence for charges resulting in death, 20 years in prison for serious bodily injury charges and another 10 years for possessing a firearm as a felon.

On July 23, the San Antonio Police Department was sent to a Walmart store off of Interstate 35 upon receiving a call about a tractor-trailer parked in the lot. Officers found nearly 40 illegal aliens at the scene, including many lying in the trailer. Bradley was sitting in the cab, where officers found a Cobra CB 38 Derringer .38-caliber pistol.

Ten of the illegal aliens died because of the conditions inside the trailer. Anywhere from 70 to 200 people were inside the trailer during the transport, testimony from some of the illegal aliens reveals. The immigrants paid varying fees for the transport.

Victims included Ruben Hemandez-Vargas, Osbaldo Rodriguez-Cerda, Frank Fuentes-Gonzalez, Jorge Reyes-Noveron, Mariano Lopez-Cano, Jose Rodriguez-Aspeitia, Benjamin Martinez-Arredondo, Ricardo Martinez-Esparza, and two unidentified males.

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