FORT WORTH -- A 57-year-old man has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for fatally shooting a man in a south Fort Worth motel room more than five years ago.
Jurors in state District Judge Mike Thomas' court deliberated for about three hours Wednesday and Thursday before convicting Guillermo Lugo of murder in the Nov. 21, 2002, slaying of Ernesto Delgadillo, 40. Later, the jury deliberated about 20 minutes before assessing the 25-year sentence.
Lugo must serve at least half the sentence before he is eligible for parole. Officials said he will probably be deported to Mexico when he is released from prison.
Because Lugo had previous felony convictions for cocaine possession and driving while intoxicated, he is considered a habitual criminal, and his punishment ranged from 25 years to life in prison for Delgadillo’s murder.
Prosecutor Michele Hartmann, who tried the case with Jeff Hampton, said she didn't ask the jury for a specific sentence but was pleased with the jury's verdict.
"Even the minimum would be a life sentence because of his advanced age and poor health," Hartmann said. "Mr. Delgadillo's family was present and they were happy to see a resolution to their brother's murder and to see justice done. They were appreciative of the work the jury put into the case."
Defense attorney Steven Bush said, "He received the minimum punishment, which I thought was appropriate under the circumstances."
Officials have said Delgadillo's body was found at the Super 7 Inn in the 4400 block of South Interstate 35W on Nov. 21, 2002, when a motel guest saw it through an open door of a second-story room. A warrant was issued for Lugo shortly after the slaying, but Lugo disappeared and was rumored to be in Mexico.
Earlier this year, police in Columbus, Ohio, detained a man on suspicion of stealing storm gutters. The man initially told police that his name was Robert Torres, but they found a piece of paper on him with the name Guillermo Lugo.
Police quickly learned that Lugo was wanted on a Fort Worth murder warrant and contacted authorities in Fort Worth, who traveled to Ohio. During the police interrogation, officials said, Lugo initially said that he hadn’t been in Fort Worth since 2000. Later, however, he conceded that he had been in the motel room that day but said that he was being robbed and that a woman shot Delgadillo, officials said.