Fabian Paredes apologies to the family of Joshua David Sanchez before his sentence was pasted out 93rd state district court at the Hidalgo County Courthouse on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020, in McAllen. (Joel Martinez | jmartinez@themonitor.com)

EDINBURG — A judge ruled Wednesday that a 33-year-old man who shot and killed a 27-year-old man near the Hidalgo County Courthouse murdered the man during an act of “sudden passion.”

State District Judge Fernando Mancias sentenced Fabian Paredes to 20 years in prison after making the “sudden passion” ruling, which made Paredes eligible to be sentenced under a second-degree murder charge that carries a range of punishment from two to 20 years.

A jury convicted Paredes last October of first-degree murder for the death of Joshua David Sanchez after a week-long trial and six hours of deliberation.

Assistant District Attorney Roxanna Salinas asked Mancias to sentence Paredes to life in prison with the possibility of parole and told the judge that the Hidalgo County District Attorney’s Office didn’t believe Paredes shot Sanchez during an act of sudden passion.

Paredes shot and killed Sanchez on Oct. 9, 2017, at the intersection of 10th Avenue and West McIntyre Street while the two were stopped at a light.

Testimony and evidence during the trial revealed that Paredes refused to let Sanchez turn right out of a Stripes parking lot on Business Highway 281, angering Sanchez, who followed Paredes to the intersection where he lost his life.

Paredes’ defense attorney, Terry Canales, said during the trial’s opening arguments that Sanchez followed Paredes so closely that the man could see him yelling through the rearview mirror.

At the intersection, Canales claims Paredes hear Sanchez threaten to kill him and reach for what the man thought was a gun before he reached across his wife’s face and fired his gun, killing Sanchez, who was not armed.

He shot Sanchez while the light was green, which factored into the jury’s verdict because the jurors believed Paredes had a choice to flee rather than shoot the man, Canales revealed Wednesday.

Paredes took a left at the light before fleeing to the Island with his wife, Jill Hanson-Paredes, while Sanchez’s vehicle continued straight through the intersection before he crashed across the street from the Edinburg Fire Department.

Authorities arrested the couple a week later.

The DA’s office later decided not to send Hanson-Paredes’ to a grand jury and she was never indicted.

Before Mancias handed down the sentence, Paredes apologized to Sanchez’s family, saying that he hoped they could forgive him.

“I pray every night that someday they might find it in their hearts to forgive me,” Paredes said.

After finishing his statement, Sanchez’s aunt, Ana Cedillo, told Paredes from the audience that she wanted him to know in his heart that she forgave him.

That’s when Paredes turned and said, “I’m sorry, ma’am.”

After the hearing, Cedillo said she feels for both families.

“All of us are grieving,” Cedillo said.

She cited her Christianity as her reason for forgiving Paredes, adding that she could only speak for herself.

Circumstances prevented more of Sanchez’s family from attending the sentencing.

“When we do justice in our hands, that’s what happens. We end up there in court,” Cedillo said, gesturing to the courtroom. “The world needs to forgive.”

As for Paredes’ sentence, his attorney, Canales, argued that multiple factors should be considered in sentencing Paredes under a second-degree murder felony.

Those factors included aggravated circumstances from the actions Sanchez took in pursuing Paredes, the man’s debilitating health problems and that Paredes likely wouldn’t commit another offense.

“That day, two worlds collided,” Canales said.