EL PASO, Texas -- The eighth person to be convicted in the brutal dismemberment death of a missing man was sentenced to 60 years in prison on Tuesday.
Adrian Herrera's sentencing came one day after a jury found him guilty of engaging in organized criminal activity and tampering with a corpse and other evidence.
The conviction stems from the death of 33-year-old Anthony Trejo in Sept. 2016 in what was alleged to be a gang-related slaying tied to drugs.
Authorities said Trejo was kidnapped, beaten to death, dismembered and then dumped in a northeast El Paso desert area.
Steven Ramirez, currently serving a 20-year prison sentence for his involvement in the slaying, told police that Trejo's death was carried out by "La Linea," which is "the enforcement arm of a Juarez drug cartel." He said that Trejo was on the cartel's blacklist and "needed to be taken out with the other trash."
In closing arguments on Monday, Herrera's defense lawyer told jurors that "reasonable doubt" existed as to his client's guilt. The attorney maintained prosecutors offered no credible eyewitnesses or forensic evidence directly linking Herrera to the killing.
But after several hours of deliberations, the jury agreed with prosecutors.
Of the nine people arrested in Trejo's killing, Herrera became the eighth person convicted in the case. Most others pleaded guilty in deals with prosecutors, while Herrera chose to stand trial.
Herrera initially fled to Mexico following Trejo's murder and was arrested at an international bridge trying to cross back into the U.S.