Gilmer Hernandez in Del Rio, Texas, prison (Photo: SWTexasLive.com)

A welcome home party is being planned in Rocksprings, Texas, for a deputy sheriff who was prosecuted and sentenced to prison for shooting at the tires of a van carrying Mexican illegal aliens who had tried to run over him.

The announcement comes from U.S. Border Watch, which has monitored the case of Guillermo Hernandez as well as several other cases involving border security.

“We ask you to join U.S. Border Watch, the Town of Rocksprings, Texas, family members and countless supportive friends [in] a spectacular Welcome Home Party for Gilmer,” said the announcement. The event, about which more details will be released later, is set for Oct. 20.

The organization said Hernandez is expected to be released Oct. 15. “This fine young deputy and his family have suffered a great deal as a pawn of our government,” said the announcement. “We need to show America we believe in him and what he stands for.”

As WND reported, U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton, whom President Bush identified as a good friend, prosecuted Hernandez for injuring two Mexican illegal aliens in a van. Hernandez fired at the van’s tires as the illegals escaped from a routine traffic stop, attempting to run over the officer as they drove away.

Hernandez was sentenced to one year plus one day in prison after Sutton’s office had recommended seven years. Hernandez decided not to appeal his case, choosing to serve the short sentence rather than risk another trial and possibly a longer sentence. He reported for his term earlier this year, and it was subject to routine allowances for good behavior and other factors.

U.S. Border Watch raised funds to provide for the deputy’s family while he was serving the penalty demanded by the Mexican government.

As WND reported Sutton decided to prosecute Hernandez only after the Mexican consulate wrote letters demanding it. An investigation by the Texas Rangers concluded Hernandez did nothing wrong in discharging his weapon at the fleeing van.

Hernandez a few months ago was transferred from a Texas prison to a federal facility in another state and placed in the general population, according to his former boss, Sheriff Don Letsinger, who believes the officer’s life was endangered by the move and told WND Hernandez asked his family to not contact him in the federal prison.

The office of Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, which has been following the case, confirmed to WND Hernandez has been transferred.

Sutton also was the prosecutor who pursued the cases against U.S. Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean for firing their weapons in pursuit of a fleeing Mexican illegal alien drug smuggler.

Sutton also prosecuted Border Patrol Agent Noe Aleman for lying in his attempt to legally adopt his wife’s three young nieces from Mexico.

Ramos and Compean are serving 11- and 12-year terms respectively. Aleman is serving a six-month sentence.

The two illegal aliens injured in the Hernandez incident, Maricela Rodriquez-Garcia and Candio Garcia-Perez, won a $100,000 settlement in a lawsuit against the officer.



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