SAN ANTONIO, TX (KABB) – An illegal immigrant who was convicted of killing and burning the body of a San Antonio man was sentenced to life in prison.
Ernesto Esquivel-Garcia was convicted in August for the murder of Jared Vargas, 20.
Vargas disappeared in 2018 after leaving his job at the Bowl and Barrel, a restaurant at the Rim at La Cantera, where he worked with Esquivel-Garcia.
At the time, investigators said the two men were involved in a drug deal in which Esquivel-Garcia killed Vargas.
During the trial, Esquivel-Garcia claimed self-defense, but prosecutors argued that after the murder, Esquivel-Garcia stuffed Vargas body into a closet and left him there for two days.
He then used Vargas’ car and phone as his own before buying gasoline and burning Vargas’ remains in an apartment, said prosecutors. He also reportedly said that after the crime, he planned to go to Mexico.
“His murderer, an illegal alien, had been in ICE and Bexar County custody repeatedly ending with an immigration judge granting a voluntary departure judgment. Just two weeks later, Ernesto murdered Jared,” Lori Vargas said.
“I absolutely believe that you do not have capacity for remorse, compassion, love, truth or goodness,” said Gene Vargas to Esquivel-Garcia after the sentencing.
Esquivel-Garcia’s lawyer argued his client should have been sentenced to life in prison because he has a newborn daughter he’ll never have a chance to hold.
“Jared is still gone. Jared is not coming back. It’s very difficult to find closure when his murderer has chosen not take accountability and shows no remorse and ultimately were left with a lot of unanswered questions,” said Cristin Vargas, Jared’s aunt.
He is also eligible for parole in 30 years. If he is ever paroled, he will be deported to Mexico.