SAN ANTONIO, Texas.- The driver of a big rig involved in the deaths of 10 smuggled immigrants in Texas last year was sentenced Friday to life in prison.
James Matthew Bradley Jr. pleaded guilty in October to a count of transporting the immigrants resulting in death and a conspiracy count. If he had gone to trial and been convicted, he could have faced the death penalty.
The life term Bradley received from senior U.S. District Judge David A. Ezra doesn’t include the possibility of parole. At least 39 immigrants, most from Mexico and Guatemala, were inside the sweltering trailer found by San Antonio police last July in a Walmart parking lot.
Its refrigeration system wasn’t working and outside temperatures that day reached 101 degrees (more than 38 degrees Celsius). Eight people died inside the trailer and two others died after being hospitalized. Bradley, 61, was identified by prosecutors as hailing from Louisville, Kentucky, but he also had lived in Florida.
“I am so sorry it happened,” Bradley said in a video statement that his lawyers played in court Friday, the San Antonio ExpressNews reported. “There’s not a day or night that goes by that I don’t relive this scene.” Ezra called Bradley’s actions “extreme by any measure,” according to the newspaper.