CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A 41-year-old Corpus Christi has been ordered to prison for role in an attempted armed robbery of local clock shop, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.
A federal jury convicted Eric Richard Garza June of attempting to effect commerce by robbery and discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. They deliberated for only approximately one hour following a two-day trial.
Today, U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos handed Garza a 78-month-term of imprisonment for the attempted robbery and an additional 120 months for the discharge of a firearm which must be served consecutively. The total 198-month prison term will be immediately followed by five years of supervised release. At the hearing, the court heard from the victim who explained how he suffered severe physical and psychological injuries as a result of being shot twice as well as financial losses from lost wages and hospital bills. In handing down the sentence, the court noted the severity of the offense, the harm caused to the victim and his financial losses as a result of Garza’s crime.
On Dec. 14, 2018, Garza drove to Central Watch and Clock Repair in Corpus Christi with Christopher Rangel-Musial. They put on masks and entered the store. Once inside, Rangel-Musial brandished the 9mm semi-automatic pistol Garza had given him and pointed it at the owner as Garza had instructed. Garza then demanded the victim to get on the ground, but he refused. Garza subsequently told Rangel-Musial twice to shoot the victim. Once again, Rangel-Musial did as told and fired three shots, hitting the victim in the stomach and back.
The shop owner managed to get to his revolver and chase Garza and Rangel-Musial out of the store. The victim shot Rangel-Musial as he fled.
At trial, the victim testified about the injuries he sustained when the would-be robbers shot him. The victim required two surgeries, lost eight inches of his colon as well as his spleen and suffered an injured kidney. He was in the ICU for four days. He now has an 11-inch scar as a constant reminder of that day and suffers from persistent insomnia.
At trial, the defense attempted to convince the jury that Rangel-Musial’s girlfriend was the accomplice. However, the victim was steadfast in his testimony that the voice he heard tell Rangel-Musial to “shoot him” belonged to a man. The jury did not believe the defense theory and found Garza guilty as charged.
Garza has been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
Rangel-Musial, 26, Corpus Christi, previously pleaded guilty, accepted responsibility and testified against Garza at trial. He later received a 108-month prison sentence.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives conducted the investigation with the assistance of the Corpus Christi Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joel Dunn and Christopher Marin prosecuted the case.
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