San Antonio man sentenced to 50 years in prison for fatal shooting, armed robbery

SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) — A San Antonio man now has a sentence of 50 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to an armed robbery that killed an East Side convenience store owner.

The robbery happened at a store owned by Sri Lankan native Gemunu Gamarachchilage, who was shot during the hold up on July 30, 2019. San Antonio police arrested 22-year-old Zion Talavera, who had committed three other robberies that day, and another the day before.

Gamarachchilage, also known as James, underwent numerous surgeries before he died from his in December of 2020.

“What James and his family endured is heartbreaking. Like so many immigrants to our country, James came here to start a business and build a life. He was successful at that and was capable of contributing even more to our community. I hope James’s family can begin to heal now that this case is behind them,” said Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales.

Talavera was previously sentenced to 20 years in prison for a separate aggravated robbery during the 2019 spree. That sentence will run concurrently with the sentence for murder. Judge Jefferson Moore also ordered Talavera to pay $2,274,170.88 in restitution to James’s family.

Talavera’s co-defendant, Armando Narvaez, has pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery and is expected to be sentenced next week.

Talavera received the 50-year sentence on Thursday.