Sentencing: Jury Recommends Zapata to Serve 6 Months in Jail


SAN ANGELO, TX — After about five hours of deliberation, the jury recommended Ray Zapata spend six months in a state jail.

The jury returned their sentencing recommendations for each of the four counts to which Zapata was found guilty yesterday after about four hours of arguments between Zapata’s defense attorney Mark Snodgrass and the prosecution team headed by Shane Attaway. More on this tomorrow.

The jury recommended the following sentence:

  • Count 1 – Forgery. Sentence of 6 months in state jail and a $10,000 fine. No probation recommended.
  • Count 2 — Forgery. Sentence of 6 months in state jail and a $10,000 fine. No probation recommended.
  • Count 3 — Theft. Sentence of 5 years in jail and a $10,000 fine. The jury recommended that since Zapata had a clean criminal record that the sentence be probated under community supervision.
  • Count 4 — Money Laundering. Sentence of 2 years in jail and a $10,000 fine. The jury recommended probation in lieu of confinement.

The judge recessed the court until Tuesday morning a 9 a.m. for the official sentencing.

Attaway said after tonight’s hearing that he will not comment on the outcome of the case. He is prosecuting the State’s case against John Young in October. Attaway confirmed the max time Zapata will spend in jail will be 6 months. He said the judge can lengthen the terms of the probation, however.

Zapata was released to go home with his family and friends. He remains on bond until presiding Judge Brock Jones delivers the official sentencing on Tuesday. At that time, Zapata will likely be booked into the Tom Green County Jail.

Texas Ranger Nick Hanna, who was the lead investigator of the case, was standing outside the courtroom doors as Zapata’s friends and family exited. A woman in that group pointed at Hanna, and with a proud snarl, stated to Hanna, (something like) ‘You didn’t get him this time, too bad.’

After the fourth sentence was read by Judge Brock Jones, Zapata's face indicated that he was relieved.

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I guess He's paying the fines with that money. So all the money he stole goes back to the justice system.

I want a mixed bunch of lib-tards and democrats as my juror's if I ever do anything illegal and get tried for it........... A complete waste of everyone's time.

The power of prayer.

Hate to see the razz on Nick Hanna. Knew him a long time ago. Nice family man.

Maybe he'll get a private butler and other amenities while he does his HUGE sentence. Waste of our, the taxpayers, money!

That's pretty cocky for the lady to tell a Texas Ranger that. Might come back and bite them in the butt. I can't believe the sentences given and yes, what about all the money that he stole? I agree that it Sure was a waste of time for everyone. Marc Valdez got 30 years for beating up a guy and this guy gets 6 months in jail and probation for all that he did? He needs to pay back all the money he stole as well.

I guess none of you kept up with the case, he already paid back the original sum of money. The 40,000.00 would be in addition too. If you're going to complain at least get the facts right!

If this would have been anybody else, they would have hung him from the highest tree.... He should have lost his law license, made to pay back all the money he stold, sell his and his families BMW cars. This is so unfair. Why did you wast the tax payers money on this trial? Oh wait.... that is what San Angelo does... pick and choose who gets punished... I see how it is..... oh... and at the very least 5 years in lock-up, general population no less. He will probably do it again. But be a little more discreet.............That's all I have to say about that.

Ray and his family do not drive BMWs or any other fancy car. That's Young. If you're going to make a comment l, please get the facts straight.

Wow, OK. A few observations. First, the sentences meted out by the jury do not seem in any way proportionate to the gravity of the charges the same jury convicted Zapata of. Still, Zapata will remain a convicted felon for the rest of his life, will serve time in jail, and always have a record. Moreover, everyone knows of his despicable deeds and the company he kept, and there will always be questions about his role in the entire John Sullivan affair. He is damaged goods: would you want to go into business with this sleazy man? Would you want to befriend him? You do so at your own risk.

Second, when we speculate on the jury’s reasoning behind such a light sentence, we must do so through the lens of John Young’s role in the Sullivan matter. Snodgrass hit on this point in his closing arguments. Apparently, the jury, in recommending its sentences, must believe that Zapata’s role was a relatively minor one, though the guilty verdicts show that the jurors believed Zapata did indeed have some involvement. The jury’s sentencing recommendations, then, lead me to believe that there was a mitigating factor, namely, John Young.

The third observation is that John Young ought to be very, very frightened about his upcoming trial. If the jury convicted someone who was in league with Young, yet recommended a light sentence, who else is left to punish but John Young. If a jury convicted someone who played a bit part is an evil act, John Young’s fate looks bleak. If the State’s case against Zapata was solid enough to get a conviction, the case against Young can only be stronger since Young stood to gain the most financially. Young’s history of unlawful, disgusting behavior, in contrast with Zapata’s clean record and apparent good reputation, will not do him any favors.

The final observation piggy-backs on “Cockiness’” point. The Zapata supporter who taunted Ranger Hanna made a very stupid, classless move. Her comment was curious too: “You didn’t get him this time, too bad.” “This time”? Freudian slip, perhaps? Or has Zapata been investigated before? Is Zapata being investigated now? It would hardly be surprising, given his role in the Sullivan matter. At any rate, while Zapata dodged serious jail time, his life moving forward will hardly be ideal.

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