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Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said that a Honduran national responsible for multiple violent — and sometimes “sadistic” — home invasions in Texas was sentenced to 29 years in a U.S. prison.
Denis Matute, who was illegally residing in the Houston area and is not a U.S. citizen, was sentenced on Aug. 16 by U.S. Circuit Judge Gregg Costa to a 108-month term of imprisonment for two counts of interference with commerce by robbery, as well as an additional 120 months for each of two counts of brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence.
To be served consecutively, Matute won’t face removal proceedings until after his lengthy total 348-month total prison term, meaning more than two decades might go by before he’s deported. The 27-year-old had already pleaded guilty on Nov. 2, 2021.
“At the hearing, the court heard evidence of the underlying offenses as well as the details surrounding three additional murders and two home invasions Matute had committed,” the Justice Department said in a press release.
“In handing down the sentence, the court noted the sadistic method Matute used toward the victim of one of the home invasions and that this case was much more than just brandishing a firearm,” Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Houston also noted in its own release.
Matute was part of a robbery crew that was involved in several crimes, including two violent robberies during which they brandished firearms, prosecutors said. One occurred at the A1 Flea Market in Houston. There, the crew handcuffed a security guard and proceeded to kick him while down. They then robbed two separate booths and pointed guns at multiple individuals, authorities said.
During the hearing, the judge commented on how Matute and his crew carjacked an individual at gunpoint while en route to the robbery.
Matute was also convicted for his role in the robbery of the R&R Pawn Shop in January 2017. During that robbery, the crew pointed guns at employees’ heads before breaking the glass and stealing multiple items including expensive Rolex watches.
He has been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined “in the near future,” the DOJ said.
The investigation was conducted by the Houston Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Houston, and FBI Houston. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa M. Collins.