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David Zavala sentenced to 30-years in prison

David Zavala was emotional as Cynthia Mendoza's family took the stand during the punishment phase on May 11, 2017. (Credit: KFOX14/CBS4)

It only took two hours Thursday for a jury to decide that David Xavala should spend 30 years in prison for the crash that killed his probation officer-turned-girlfriend, Cynthia Mendoza. When the judge read the verdict, Zavala dropped his head and wiped his tears.

The defense and state rested Thursday afternoon in the trial for David Zavala. The jury found Zavala guilty of aggravated assault for the 2014 crash that killed Cynthia Mendoza.

"I don't think he's remorseful,” said prosecutor Denise Butterworth.

"It's inappropriate for probation officers to be taking advantage of probationers in this fashion,” said defense attorney Sergio Saldivar. “They're in a position of authority. When they have people they should be supervising and watching, they should be doing their job."

Responded Butterworth: "Any bad decisions that were made on Cynthia Mendoza's part, she ultimately paid a huge price. She lost her life for the decision she made."

The defense said the state of Texas should have taken action sooner to stop the relationship, and maybe the crash could have been prevented.

Both Cynthia and Zavala's family took the stand Thursday for the sentencing phase.

Cynthia's sister and mom both said they were unaware of any relationship between Cynthia and Zavala.

They both said they had never met him.

Zavala's mom and two sisters also spoke, asking the jury to be lenient with his sentence.

Mendoza's mother says the heartbreak is never-ending. She told the jury, "I go to her room and I can't find her. Her clothing is intact. All of her things are still in their place. I cannot go in."

Mendoza's family said Mendoza’s son will now grow up without a mother.

"Thirty, 40, 50 years, this is still not going to bring back their daughter, their sister. But at the end of the day, I believe they're also godly people and they are putting their faith in God,” Butterworth said.

An emotional Zavala took the stand, saying the crash was unavoidable, but it was never intentional.

He said he's been devastated ever since it happened.

The defense said it plans on filing an appeal, but it has not said when.


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