TUCSON, Arizona (Reuters) – A Mexican citizen who pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the 2010 shooting death of a US Border Patrol agent in a late-night gun battle near the Arizona border was sentenced yesterday to 30 years in federal prison.
Manuel Osorio-Arellanes, 37, was sentenced during a hearing in US District Court in Tucson to 30 years in prison for the murder of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, with credit for 38 months served.
The case drew international attention when two AK-47s found at the scene were traced back to the botched “Fast and Furious” gun-trafficking investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
Terry’s mother and two sisters spoke during the hearing, telling the court that his death at age 40 sent shockwaves through the tight-knit family.
“Manuel, you’ve taken a hero from us, but you can’t take his honour,” Terry’s sister, Kelly Willis, told Osorio-Arellanes, glancing at the orange-jumpsuit clad defendant, whose feet were shackled and hands chained to his waist.
“You have already taken as much as I can bear,” she said, calling Osorio-Arellanes a coward who chose the wrong path in life and vowed to erase him from her mind.
Osorio-Arellanes pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree murder in October 2012 as part of a plea deal with prosecutors that spared him a possible death sentence had he been convicted at trial.
In pleading guilty, he admitted that he had been in the United States illegally to rob smugglers when the gunfight erupted, but denied firing the shot that killed Terry, a member of the Border Patrol’s elite BORSTAR unit.
“Nothing can bring back agent Terry, who gave his life protecting our country,” US Attorney Laura Duffy said in a statement.