A former Cameron County employee convicted of stealing $1.2 million over 9 years and was sentenced to 50 years in prisonl will not get a new sentencing hearing.

A former Cameron County employee convicted of stealing $1.2 million over 9 years and was sentenced to 50 years in prisonl will not get a new sentencing hearing.

Attorneys Ed Stapleton and Sara Stapleton-Barrera filed a motion for a new trial based on ineffective assistance and an illegal basis for the sentence on May 11 on behalf of Gilberto Escamilla, 53, who pleaded guilty to theft of more than $250,000 by a public servant and received the five-decade sentence on April 20.

Escamilla was arrested last year after a driver from Labatt Food Service in Harlingen called the Darrel B. Hester Juvenile Detention Center’s kitchen in San Benito to let them know their 800-pound delivery of fajitas arrived. He was in charge of that kitchen, and fajitas are not on the menu at the center.

The total value of the fajitas, which were stolen during a nine-year period, was $1,251,578. That figure does not include the brisket, pork chops, sausage and various types of chicken Escamilla also admitted to stealing.

During the Friday hearing, Escamilla’s defense attorneys brought more than a dozen witnesses, many of whom were extended family. Those family members they were never contacted to testify at the sentencing hearing.

However, Cameron County Assistant District Attorney Pete Gilman reminded the court that at the April 20 sentencing hearing Escamilla made it clear that he did not ask family to attend the hearing because he’d already put them through enough.

Escamilla, shackled and dressed in an orange county-issued jumpsuit, testified that he believe his attorneys misrepresented him by recommending that he go before visiting state District Judge J. Manuel Bañales rather than a jury.

After hours of testimony, Bañales ruled that Escamilla did knowingly agree to plead guilty and that none of his rights were violated when he was given the 50 year sentence.