James Matthew Bradley Jr., the big-rig driver who smuggled dozens of immigrants in Texas last year — some of them died — was sentenced last mondy to life in prison. Bradley, 61, pleaded guilty in October to a count of transporting the immigrants resulting in death, and a conspiracy count. He faced the death penalty if he’d gone to trial.
“I am so sorry it happened,” Bradley said in a video statement that his lawyers played in court Friday, The San Antonio Express-News reported. “There’s not a day or night that goes by that I don’t relive this scene.”
At least 39 immigrants, most from Mexico and Guatemala, were inside the sweltering trailer found by San Antonio police last July in a Walmart parking lot. Its refrigeration system wasn’t working and outside temperatures that day reached 101 degrees. Eight people died in the trailer and two others succumbed after being hospitalized.
Survivors recalled brutal conditions in the vehicle, saying they resorted to crying while begging for water due to the high temperatures. They eventually took turns breathing via a hole in the side of the trailer.
According to the US Attorney, seven were from Mexico: 27 -year-old Ruben Hernandez Vargas; 21-year-old Osbaldo Rodriguez Cerda; 26-year-old Jorge Reyes Noveron; 36-year-old Jose Rodriguez Aspeitia; 37-year-old Benjamin Martinez Arredondo; 24-year-old Ricardo Martinez Esparza; and Mariano Lopez Cano, whose age is unknown. Another person, Frank Fuentes, was from Guatemala. A Guatemalan diplomat previously told the AP that Fuentes had been deported and was trying to return to his family in Maryland.
Lopez Cano and Martinez Esparza died at an area hospital.
Pedro Silva Segura, 47, the operator of the stash house in Laredo that served as a holding area for illegal immigrants awaiting transportation, pleaded guilty to conspiracy last month. Segura admitted to providing Bradley with five of the immigrants in the truck from his stash house. He faces up to life in prison when he’s sentenced on June 29.
James Matthew Bradley Jr., el conductor del Big-Rig que contrabandeaba docenas de inmigrantes en Texas el año pasado–algunos de ellos murieron-fue condenado el pasado mes de Abril a la vida en prisión. Bradley, 61, se declaró culpable en octubre a una cuenta de transporte de los inmigrantes resultando en la muerte, y un conteo de conspiración. Se enfrentó a la pena de muerte si había ido a juicio.
Los supervivientes recordaron condiciones brutales en el vehículo, diciendo que recurrieron a llorar mientras mendigaban agua debido a las altas temperaturas. Eventualmente se turnaban para respirar a través de un agujero en el costado del remolque.