HARRIS COUNTY, Texas – A 22-year-old man has been lightly sentenced in connection to the shooting death of his 16-year-old girlfriend, court records revealed.
Alexander Valenzuela was given a 90 day sentence in Harris County Jail and ordered to attend an Intermediate Sanctions Facility for cognitive behavioral treatment for at least 45 days. His jail sentence also comes with six years of deferred adjudication community supervision, according to court records, ABC13 reported.
Valenzuela’s lenient plea agreement comes after he was initially charged with murder in the death of Ciana “Cici” Castro in April 2021. The girl’s mother, Dulce Rodriguez, told the news outlet that she was outraged by the “light” punishment. The woman said she was shocked when Judge Jason Luong handed down the sentence on Dec.13. After hearing the consequences for her daughter’s killer in court, she had to be quieted. Moreover, Castro’s father had to be escorted out.
Valenzuela was 20 years old when Castro was killed at his family’s home on Smoke Hollow Court in northwest Harris County. Investigators said Valenzuela did not cooperate during the investigation, claiming the girl’s death was an accident.
In October 2022 Valenzuela agreed to a plea bargain and his murder charge was reduced to aggravated assault on a family member, and serious bodily injury.
“I am a father of two daughters. I can’t imagine the pain the family is going through,” Juan L. Guerra, Valenzuela’s defense attorney, said. “A tragedy will never feel justified. The Valenzuela family and I pray they find peace.”
Judge Luong dispensed the sentence two weeks before he leaves the bench after being defeated in May by prosecutor Andrea Beall in the Democratic Primary runoff. Neither the judge nor the Harris County District Attorney’s Office responded to a request for comment from ABC13.