A 24-year-old who fatally shot a man who was running to protect a 3-year-old has been sentenced to life in prison without parole.
A Tarrant County jury deliberated for about 90 minutes Monday before sentencing Jacob Jordann Bright of Fort Worth for killing Islander Tavira-Hernandez in 2012, prosecutor Steve Gebhardt said.
“He killed a man right in front of his family,” Gebhardt said. “The kids saw the whole thing.”
On the night of Nov. 19, 2012, Tavira-Hernandez, his girlfriend and her children — a 10-year-old girl and a 3-year-old boy — had just returned to their apartment complex in the 1200 block of East Seminary Drive in south Fort Worth, police have said.
They were approached by a gunman wearing a ski mask who demanded money. Frightened, the 3-year-old ran toward the family’s apartment.
When the robber ran in the same direction, police said, Tavira-Hernandez chased him. The robber shot Tavira-Hernandez multiple times before running away.
Tavira-Hernandez died a short time later at a Fort Worth hospital.
Fort Worth police tracked Bright’s cellphone and retrieved text messages that proved to be crucial evidence for the prosecution, Gebhardt said.
Tarrant County court records show that Bright has misdemeanor convictions for criminal trespassing, marijuana possession and theft. In July 2011, he was sentenced to two years in prison after his probation in a cocaine possession case was revoked when he was kicked out of a halfway house for substance-abuse treatment, records show.
Bright was released from prison in October 2011 on mandatory supervision, said Jason Clark, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. But in February 2012, a warrant was issued for a parole violation, Clark said.
At the time of Tavira-Hernandez’s slaying, Bright was also wanted in a theft case in Tarrant County, records show. He was accused of trying to shoplift panties and a bra from a Wal-Mart in east Fort Worth. A warrant in that case was issued in April 2012 after he failed to appear in court and his bail was forfeited.
This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.
Mitch Mitchell, 817-390-7752