A 24-year-old man was sentenced to 45 years in prison on Thursday for his role in a robbery and shooting that left a childhood friend dead and wounded a woman.
Michael Daniel Cucuta of Fort Worth will have to serve half his sentence before he becomes eligible for parole, a news release from the Tarrant County district attorney’s office said.
Jurors deliberated 30 minutes before handing down guilty verdicts on charges of murder, attempted capital murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and two counts of aggravated robbery, according to the release. Sentences assessed in the other crimes by state District Judge Louis Sturns will run concurrently with the murder sentence, the release said.
According to evidence presented by prosecutors, Cucuta, Jose Luis Acosta and Eduardo Bustos, the man who was slain, were childhood friends who had been partners in the drug trade. Cucuta and Acosta said they believed Bustos had wronged them and planned to rob him, the release said.
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On Oct. 9, 2011, Cucuta and Acosta entered Bustos’ apartment in the 6200 block of Finbro Drive. Acosta pulled a gun and pointed it at Savana Rodriguez, Bustos’ girlfriend. Bustos tried to tackle Acosta and was shot three times. As Rodriguez tried to crawl to safety, Acosta shot her once in the hip. He tried to shoot her a second time but the gun misfired, the release said.
Cucuta and Acosta fled. Bustos’ neighbors called 911, and he died later at a hospital, the release said. Rodriguez was treated for her wound and survived.
Acosta is serving sentences of 99 years for murder and 50 years for attempted capital murder in the deaths.
According to court records, all three men sold methamphetamine together between 2009 and 2011 and were members of a criminal street gang.