SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - One of three suspects in a 2017 Smith County shooting has received 20 years in prison for his role in the incident.
Joel Camacho appeared in Judge Jack Skeen's district court on Wednesday for an open plea sentencing, which means there wasn't any kind of agreement reached beforehand. Camacho's defense team requested a 10-year sentence be handed down, but Judge Skeen issued the maximum punishment of 20 years in prison.
Camacho, Tarrance Reggie, and Carlos Ochoa were all indicted by a Smith County grand jury in December of 2017. All three men were indicted for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
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On Sept. 17, Smith County Sheriff's Office deputies responded to a shooting near Eagle Creek Mobile Home Park, off Highway 271 North.
When deputies arrived, they found a victim in a wooded area. The person had a gunshot wound that appeared to be life-threatening, the sheriff's office said.
The following day, detectives identified three suspects - later identified as Reggie, Camacho, and Ochoa - and warrants were issued for each of them.
"The surgeon said his injuries were catastrophic," said the victim's mother during Wednesday's sentencing. "That he'd never be able to eat, talk, walk, use the bathroom, or do anything on his own again."
The victim, who was never identified by authorities, has made "remarkable strides in recovery", according to his mother's courtroom testimony. She said although her son survived, he still needed round-the-clock care. Doctors do, however, believe he will continue to improve.
"I've been so proud of him I've learned so much about him that I didn't know in the past 11 months about his strength," she said. "I watch him now and I don't want him to give up on his dreams because his idea of normal is different."
After Wednesday's sentencing, Camacho waived his right to appeal. The remaining two co-defendants are awaiting their sentencing, which is expected on Thursday.
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