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Judge sentences Cumbrera to two mandatory life sentences

Last Modified: Saturday, September 07, 2013 10:00 PM

By Johnathan Manning / American Press

A jury in state district court found Mauricio Garcia Cumbrera guilty of two counts of second-degree murder Friday afternoon.

Cumbrera, 52, was on trial for the 2011 Labor Day weekend shooting deaths of his wife, Anna Cumbrera, 49, and his stepdaughter, Julia Ann Landry, 31, in Carlyss.

Cumbrera waived a delayed sentencing. After an impact statement from Jessica Landry, daughter and sister of the victims, Judge Mike Canaday sentenced Cumbrera to consecutive mandatory life sentences.

Jessica Landry spoke about how Anna’s and Julia’s deaths had affected her and her siblings and their children. “I would wish this on no one because it doesn’t go away,” she said.

She said she hoped Cumbrera would reflect on what he had done for the rest of his life.

The jury deliberated for nearly an hour and a half before returning guilty verdicts.

Public defender King Alexander acknowledged Cumbrera killed the women, but asked the jury to return verdicts of manslaughter.

The jury was unanimous in convicting Cumbrera of second-degree murder in Julia’s death and voted 10-2 to convict him of second-degree murder in Anna’s death.

In his police interview, played for jurors Thursday, Cumbrera said that after a fight, Anna had waved a machete and told him that if he tried to come back into the house, she would call the authorities.

Cumbrera said he retrieved a gun from the backyard, went into the house and shot Anna. When Julia entered the room, he said he told her, ‘See, I shot Anna. You have to die, too.’ ”

The jurors twice sent questions to the judge. First, they requested to have translated the final part of Cumbrera’s jailhouse interview, which he spoke entirely in Spanish. Prosecutor Rick Bryant and Alexander both said the section of the tape had nothing to do with the murders, so the segment was not translated for the jurors.

Later, jurors asked for photographs of the bullet wounds, which were brought to them.

The prosecution wrapped up its case Friday morning, putting Calcasieu Coroner Terry Welke and Charlie Hunter, an investigator with the Coroner’s Office, on the stand.

The defense called only one witness, Sharon McHale, a former landlady of the Cumbreras.

Previous court testimony suggested both women were shot twice, but Welke said Landry was actually shot three times, accounting for the five bullets the clip held.

A nonfatal shot grazed Landry’s neck and another shot struck her outstretched arm before entering her side and lung, Welke said.

Landry was also shot in the back, the bullet entering her other lung, he said.

Anna Cumbrera was shot in the neck and chest, injuring both her lungs and tearing her aorta, Welke said.

Both women were shot at close range, although the shot to Landry’s back was from a farther distance, Welke said.

In closing statements, Bryant called the killings “cold-blooded,” while Alexander said Cumbrera “snapped.”

“Sometimes a crime is horrendous, but the facts are simple,” Bryant said.

Alexander argued that Cumbrera acted in the heat of passion.

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