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Second home invader gets 50 years in prison
by Gary Kent
Aug 13, 2013 | 2192 views | 0 0 comments | 48 48 recommendations | email to a friend | print
BEEVILLE – The second of two defendants facing prison time for their part in a home invasion on South St. Mary’s Street last year was sentenced to 50 years on Tuesday.

Assistant District Attorney James Sales, III said District Judge Janna Whatley pronounced the sentence upon 22-year-old Adrian Cortez.

Sales said Cortez will have to serve 25 years of his sentence in a state prison on the aggravated robbery charge before he is eligible for parole.

The other defendant, Joe Angel Arroyos, 22, agreed to a plea bargain on July 2 and was given a 40-year sentence by District Judge Starr Bauer. He was sentenced for the same offense.

Cortez did not have a plea bargain.

Sales said Arroyos will not be eligible for parole until he has served 20 years of his sentence.

The two men admitted that they entered a home on South St. Mary’s Street in the early morning hours of June 10, 2012, after rummaging through a garage on the property.

Inside the home, they found the 15-year-old grandson of the property owner and woke him, demanding that he unplug a computer they had found on the first floor.

One of the men carried a baseball bat he had found in the garage. When they thought the boy was taking too long to unplug the computer, one of the offenders attacked the teen with the bat.

The victim suffered a broken elbow and bruises to his leg, face and back.

During the assault, the victim’s grandmother came downstairs and found the two men attacking her grandson. The boy tried to get her to go back to the bedroom, but the boy’s grandfather appeared at the bottom of the stairs, and the intruders fled.

Sales and District Attorney José Aliseda said the two defendants were the third and fourth convicted home invaders to receive long prison sentences in Beeville.

Rene Cantu and Javier Omar Hernandez were 20 and 22 years old when they were arrested two years ago.

Each suspect was sentenced by Judge Whatley to 40 years in prison after being found guilty of aggravated robbery earlier this year.

They were convicted of having entered a home in the 1600 block of North Tyler Street on Nov. 14, 2011.

Investigators determined that the two men had been sent to Beeville to collect drug money from someone else, but they entered the wrong house. The two intruders pistol whipped the homeowner when he went to the living room to investigate a noise.

The men then took a television and a computer before leaving town.

They were later arrested in Corpus Christi by Texas Ranger James Bennett and Beeville Police Department Detective Sgt. Art Gamez.

BPD Detective Lt. Richard Cantu was with the officers when Cantu was arrested and they were assisted by U.S. Marshal Service deputies, FBI agents and members of the Corpus Christi Police Department.

In each case, the defendants could have been sentenced to 99 years or life in prison. Aggravated robbery is a first degree felony.

Sales said the punishment of a defendant who breaks into a home when the occupants are there will always be higher than if the burglary occurred when no one was home.

He said the sentences will be even longer when victims are hurt, as they were in both of the home invasions.

If a victim is killed during a home invasion, Sales said prosecutors will seek the death penalty.

“Home invasions create a situation that is rife with danger to both the homeowners and the home invaders,” Sales said.

“The police did a good job in these cases,” he said. In the most recent investigation, officers found a cellular phone and a hat. Detectives actually found a photo on the cellular phone of the two suspects taken as they attended a party in town just before the burglary.

“So that came back and bit them in the backside,” Sales said.

The prosecutor said the young ages of the defendants also did not work in their favor when they faced local judges.

“In this type of crime, the age of the offender is irrelevant. We want to discourage people from committing this type of crime.”

“I hope these long sentences send a message to criminals,” Aliseda said. “These crimes will not be tolerated by my office, our judges or our communities.”

“One of the reasons burglary of a habitation is a second degree felony is because you go into someone’s home,” the district attorney said.

A home invasion is even more serious because of the likelihood that someone could be hurt or killed.

“This is really what someone fears most,” Aliseda said, “someone coming into your home when you are there.”

Aliseda said residents, if they know home invasions are happening in their community, will shoot first and ask questions later.

He said Bee, Live Oak and McMullen counties are fortunate to have a prosecutor of Sales’ caliber working here.

Sales’ salary is paid with funds from a special grant from the office of Texas Gov. Rick Perry. The grant funds are provided to counties that have special issues related to being near the Mexican border. Those issues include crimes committed by gang members and drug dealers. At least three of the four defendants in the two home invasion cases had ties to gangs.

Aliseda said he has applied to the governor’s office for another two years of the grant funds for $230,000.

Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.
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