Northeast Tarrant

Man gets life in prison for role in cartel lawyer slaying in Southlake

Officers from several cities and counties work the May 2013 shooting at Southlake Town Square.
Officers from several cities and counties work the May 2013 shooting at Southlake Town Square. Special to the Star-Telegram

A 60-year-old man has been sentenced to two life sentences in federal prison for his part in the brazen 2013 murder of a Mexican cartel lawyer at a Southlake shopping center.

Jose Luis Cepeda-Cortes, a Mexican citizen, had been convicted in May on single counts of interstate stalking, conspiracy to commit murder for hire and tampering with documents or proceedings.

On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Terry R. Means sentenced Cepeda-Cortes to two life sentences as well as a 20-year sentence to run concurrently.

The man’s 60-year-old cousin, Jesus “Chuy” Gerardo Ledezma-Cepeda, is expected to be sentenced Tuesday.

Ledezma-Cepeda was also convicted in May on single counts of interstate stalking and conspiracy to commit murder for hire. He faces up to a life sentence and a $250,000 fine on each count.

Ledezma-Cepeda’s son, 33-year-old Jesus Gerardo Ledezma-Campano, had pleaded guilty in March to one count of interstate stalking. He was sentenced in August to 20 years in prison.

Officials say between March 2011 and May 2013, the three men traveled form Mexico to Southlake and elsewhere, tracking Juan Jesus Guerrero Chapa, the personal lawyer for the leader of the Gulf cartel and a government informant.

Records show the men were acting on orders from Rodolfo Villarreal Hernandez, known “El Gato,” who wanted Chapa killed as revenge for his father’s murder.

After the men located Chapa, Hernandez sent two assassins — identified only as “Clorox” and “Captain” — from Mexico to Southlake to kill him.

Chapa was fatally shot on the evening of May 22, 2013, after he and his wife were ambushed as they sat in their Range Rover at Southlake Town Square.

After pulling up behind Chapa’s vehicle in a Toyota Sequoia, one of the assassins got out and walked up to the Range Rover, firing several times with a 9mm pistol through the window at Chapa.

Chapa died at the scene. His wife was not injured.

The two assassins have never been caught.

Deanna Boyd: 817-390-7655, @deannaboyd

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