McAllen teen receives 10 years probation for fatal 2022 shooting

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Amador Sandoval IV was sentenced to a decade of probation on Wednesday, June 5, 2024, for his role in a fatal shooting in McAllen in 2022. (Xavier Alvarez | The Monitor)

EDINBURG — “This is really your chance to fix your life.”

That’s what state District Judge Letty Lopez told a 19-year-old man on Wednesday during his sentencing for a fatal shooting.

Amador Sandoval IV pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after initially being charged with murder for the death of 53-year-old McAllen resident Rosendo Benitez in early 2022.

Sandoval was sentenced to 10 years probation as he wasn’t the shooter or the driver when the shooting occurred. He also didn’t know anyone in the stolen vehicle they were driving in had a firearm.

His co-defendant, 20-year-old Carlos Gustavo Macias-Mora, who was the shooter, was sentenced to 45 years in prison after a murder conviction in late May.

During the sentencing, Lopez made it clear to Sandoval that this was his chance to fix his life and warned him that if he were to ever return to her courtroom, he could be facing 20 years in prison.

Lopez called in his mother, Rocio Rodriguez, and told her to call his probation officer if he ever acts up again.

“I don’t joke,” Lopez said.

It was also learned that the juvenile in the case was Sandoval’s younger brother, who lives in North Carolina.

The shooting occurred around 11 p.m. on Jan. 27, 2022 in the 1600 block of North 29th Street.

Sandoval, his younger brother, Mancias-Mora and Sandra Edith Morales, who was 18 at the time, were driving in a stolen 2018 Ford Fusion when the shooting happened.

The teens had been burglarizing vehicles when Mancias-Mora shot at Benitez who was later discovered with multiple gunshot wounds, according to probable cause affidavits.

“Through the investigation, it was discovered that a male victim had been shot multiple times and later expired,” the probable cause affidavit said.

In that document, investigators stated that Sandoval implicated his co-suspects and corroborated statements made by Macias-Mora and Morales regarding Benitez’s death.

The court heard that Sandoval had plans to testify against Mancias-Mora before he pleaded guilty to the murder charge.

Lopez told Sandoval that he needs to begin making better choices in life because he has a family who cares for him unlike his co-defendant Morales, who, according to her, has no family.

Morales remains held in the Hidalgo County Adult Detention Center.