Tags: US | Border | Agent | Shot

Teen Gets 40 Years in Border Patrol Agent's Murder

Thursday, 29 Apr 2010 03:41 PM

A 17-year-old Mexican youth has been sentenced to 40 years in prison for the murder of a U.S. Border Patrol agent who was shot repeatedly east of San Diego last year.

Christian Daniel Castro Alvarez sat silently with his head down throughout Thursday's sentencing in San Diego federal court.

The courtroom was packed with uniformed Border Patrol agents as the judge read a letter written by the defendant apologizing to the family of slain agent Robert Rosas.

Rosas was shot several times in the head, from behind and while lying on the ground.

Castro's attorney argued that two accomplices now in Mexico fired the fatal shots.

Castro has told authorities the killing happened during an attempted robbery he was forced to commit under threat of death.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A 17-year-old Mexican faces a maximum penalty of life in prison when he is sentenced for killing a Border Patrol agent who was shot eight times in the head, neck and torso in a remote mountainous area.

Christian Daniel Castro Alvarez pleaded guilty in November to murdering a federal officer near Campo, about 60 miles east of San Diego. He told authorities that he and others were attempting to rob the agent, Robert Rosas.

Prosecutors have recommended that U.S. District Judge M. James Lorenz commit Castro to 40 years in prison on Thursday, while a probation officer has urged a life sentence. Federal guidelines call for a minimum sentence of 30 years.

Rosas, 30, was the first Border Patrol agent to be killed by gunfire since 1998, according to The Officer Down Memorial Page, a website that tracks death of law enforcement officers.

Rosas was shot repeatedly from behind and then while he was lying on the ground, according to prosecutors.

U.S. authorities say Castro acted with others but have not said how many or announced arrests. The suspects are believed to have fled back to Mexico through a small crevice under a border fence made of corrugated metal, sparking a massive search on both sides of the border.

Castro surrendered to authorities at a San Diego border crossing in August, less than a month after Rosas died on the night of July 23, but his capture was not announced until he pleaded guilty three months later. He was charged as an adult.

Castro confessed that he and others lured Rosas out of his Border Patrol vehicle by leaving footprints on a dirt road, shaking bushes and making noises, according to prosecutors. Rosas, who was patrolling alone, was ambushed and stripped of his gun about 100 yards from the border.

Castro, who was 16 at the time, told authorities he was holding Rosas at gunpoint when the agent reached for Castro's firearm. Castro shot once and shouted for help to his collaborators, who were walking toward Rosas' vehicle. They opened fire.

Castro said one of his collaborators shot him in the hand, leaving a trail of blood back to Mexico. Castro's DNA matched the blood.

Like many people raised in California's Imperial Valley, Rosas found a career in law enforcement. He was a state prison guard for six years before joining the Border Patrol in 2006.

He was survived by his wife, Rosalie, and two young children. Prosecutors wrote the judge last week that the children run to the front door calling "Papa" when a car pulls up to the house.

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A 17-year-old Mexican youth has been sentenced to 40 years in prison for the murder of a U.S. Border Patrol agent who was shot repeatedly east of San Diego last year.Christian Daniel Castro Alvarez sat silently with his head down throughout Thursday's sentencing in San...
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2010-41-29
Thursday, 29 Apr 2010 03:41 PM
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