LUBBOCK, Texas — A jury found Phillip Velazquez guilty for the robbery of Picantes customers and staff at gunpoint in January 2017.
“We were getting ready to go home and I was coming around the corner and the guy comes at me with a gun and just tells me to stay still,” Picantes Supervisor Leticia Palos said a few days after the robbery.
Police said no one was injured. Velazquez was one of three suspects arrested and charged.
During the trial, one witness described three men coming into the restaurant. One knocked a tray from his hands, made him get down on his knees and put a gun to his head. The armed robber then took his wallet and phone. The robber also wanted the keys to his truck.
Monday, as the trial stretched into its second week, the defense attorney told the jury, “Not one witness sat up there and testified that this was the person that robbed them.”
One of the robbers had his face partially concealed under a hoodie. Prosecutors said it was Velazquez. The defense said no it wasn’t.
The defense essentially said, yes, a crime was committed but Velazquez was not one of the robbers.
The same jury that convicted Velazquez will begin to hear evidence again and decide his punishment.
Joseph Gonzales was already found guilty and sentenced to 60 years in prison. Damian Villarreal pleaded guilty in the case was sentenced to 30 years.
Villarreal was called as a witness. He refused to testify and was held in contempt of court. The judge ordered him to serve 360 days in addition to his prison time. Gonzales was also called as a witness and refused to testify. Likewise, he was held in contempt and ordered to serve 180 days in addition to his prison time.