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Texas Man Plotted Murders of Wife’s Family to Lure Her to Mexico to Be Killed

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It took a jury less than three hours on Monday to convict a Texas man of conspiring to kill his wife to prevent her from testifying in his child sex assault trial, PEOPLE confirms.

In a months-long scheme, according to federal prosecutors, 41-year-old Samuel Velasco Gurrola plotted with his siblings to have his wife’s family killed in Mexico in order to lure her there — to her death.

Gurrola was found guilty of three counts of conspiracy to commit murder in a foreign country and four counts of conspiracy to cause foreign travel for murder for hire, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice.

According to prosecutors, Gurrola started planning the death of wife Ruth Sagredo Escobedo after he was indicted in El Paso County, Texas, on aggravated sexual assault of a child and indecency with a child.

Prosecutors say Gurrola wanted Escobedo dead so she couldn’t testify against him. She had been identified as a witness in the case.

The sexual assault charges were dropped against Gurrola after his wife was killed, authorities said.

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At trial, federal prosecutors presented evidence that from September 2008 to November 2008, Gurrola conspired with his brother, 30-year-old Emmanuel Velasco Gurrola, and his sister, 44-year-old Dalia Valencia, in the murders.

The slayings began on Oct. 3, 2008, when Francisco Maria Sagredo Villareal, Samuel’s father-in-law, was murdered in his house in Juarez, Mexico, the DOJ said in its statement.

But when Escobedo failed to attend her father’s funeral in Mexico, prosecutors said Samuel decided to target her sister, Cinthia Sagredo Escobedo. She was murdered in Juarez on Nov. 20, 2008.

Two days later, as she was traveling to the cemetery as part of her sister’s funeral procession, Ruth was ambushed and murdered, according to the DOJ.

According to one report, she was fired on nearly two dozen times by her attackers. She was a nurse practitioner at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

Samuel’s brother and sister previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy-related charges and are facing potential life in prison. They will be sentenced in December, while Samuel’s sentencing is set for mid-January.

He faces a mandatory life sentence. A call to his attorney was not immediately returned.

Ruth’s family could not be reached.