Eddie Herrera, 20, was sentenced on Wednesday to 25 years in prison for his role in the death of his prom date back in 2014.
Herrera, who attended Aldine’s MacArthur High School in Houston, Texas, was convicted of assault for choking 17-year-old Jacqueline Gomez during sex in a hotel room after prom on May 16, 2014. She was found dead the next morning in the hotel bed.
Prosecutors had recommended a sentence from 40 years to life while Herrera’s attorney asked jurors to consider probation.
“Eddie Herrera had absolutely no motive and no reason. He did not choke her to death,” defense attorney, Doug O’Brien, said during closings. “He could have just as easily died in that hotel room.”
Herrera, who was 18-years-old at the time, told the police that he and his mother worked together to rent the hotel room, get two bottles of whiskey and at least 20 pills of hydrocodone: a prescription painkiller. He told detectives that he and Gomez drank a bottle and a half of whiskey and took most of the pills before having consensual sex.
It was during the sex, Herrera told the police, that she asked him to squeeze her neck. Prosecutors said it was more likely that Herrera choked Gomez until she was unconscious during rough sex. He then passed out next to her and woke up to find her dead.
Herrera was not charged with murder. He was convicted of assaulting someone in a dating relationship, which is a first-degree felony. O’Brien argued that Gomez died of an overdose. The medical examiner’s office, however, stated that Gomez’s cause of death was “undetermined.”
“The facts in this case are horribly tragic,” prosecutor, Justin Wood, said. “You cannot imagine a more horrific set of circumstances.”
The trial began on Monday in state District Judge Vanessa Velasquez’s court.