The final suspect in the La Plaza Mall robbery is scheduled to learn his fate Monday morning, and he may receive one of the toughest sentences handed down in the case.
Abner Zepeda Posos, 25, entered guilty pleas to five counts of aggravated robbery for his role in the brazen daylight robbery of the Deutsch & Deutsch jewelry store inside the mall that spread reports of gunshots and armed gunmen at the popular shopping destination.
Posos was one of seven men shown on a widely circulated security camera video carrying hammers while one suspect carried a BB gun, smashing glass cases and making off with Rolex watches worth millions.
This wasn’t Posos’ first time, either.
Both Posos and 25-year-old Brayan Oliver Melchor committed a nearly identical act in California in 2015.
At Melchor’s sentencing, state District Judge Israel Ramon Jr. factored that into Melchor’s 25-year sentence, the stiffest yet handed down.
Ramon has stressed during recent sentencing hearings that he wants sentences handed down in the case to be equal in regards to role, cooperation with authorities and acceptance of responsibility.
If that holds true Monday, Posos could be looking at a significant sentence.
The remaining defendants have received sentences ranging from nine to 15 years.
While Posos is the last suspect to be sentenced in the case, there is an effort by one defendant to obtain a new trial on the merits and one by another to have his sentence reconsidered.
This is because on Sept. 11 the Hidalgo County District Attorney’s Office provided all of the defendants with new evidence investigators gleaned from “individuals” in custody that may be beneficial to the convicts.
The notice provided to all the defendants’ references the Office of Inspector General – Texas Juvenile Justice Department.
Jorge Mejia, 29, has asked for a new trial based on that evidence. He is currently serving a 15-year sentence.
Miguel Quintanilla Cardenas, 27, has asked for a sentencing reconsideration. He is serving a 14-year sentence.
Several defendants have claimed they were forced to participate in the armed robbery.