A Robstown man has agreed to a 40-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to the brutal assault and robbery of a Robstown shopkeeper last fall.
Ramiro Silva Flores Jr., 26, formerly of 132 1/2 W. Avenue G, pleaded guilty and accepted the plea agreement April 15 before 319th District Court Judge Tom Greenwell.
Flores had been facing 25 years to life on the aggravated robbery charge and police said Flores pleaded guilty due to incoming DNA evidence and the possibility of a life sentence.
Flores, who was still being held at the Nueces County Jail last week until he is transferred to a state institution, will not be eligible for parole until 2028 when he is 46 years old.
Police said information from Corpus Christi Crimestoppers led to the arrest of Flores for the Sept. 27 robbery of the Trash & Treasure antique store at 201 N. Fifth St.
Flores was charged at the Nueces County Jail on Oct. 25. Flores has prior theft and assault convictions and he had been jailed on an unrelated theft charge.
Detective Sgt. Enrique Paredez Jr. of the Robstown Police Department said the investigation resulted in two eyewitnesses placing Flores at the scene of the robbery, around the time it occurred.
One witness saw Flores in the vicinity of the Trash & Treasure store while another witness saw him in the store seconds before the attack occurred, Paredez said.
Flores was interviewed by police at the Nueces County Jail and allegedly confessed to the robbery.
Shop owner Joyce Milstead, 72, suffered a broken nose, broken cheekbone, several lacerations to her face and bruising to the back of her head while being beaten with a coffee cup and metal receipt book after Flores ambushed Milstead during the daylight robbery.
The attack occurred after Flores had an extensive conservation with Milstead about his life and items he'd like to sell her. Police said Flores offered no explanation for the suddenness or brutality of the assault.
Milstead said last week she thought justice had been served.
"I'm doing very well," she said. "I'm healing very well and I feel good and I'm delighted he's going to serve at least the next 20 years in jail. I'm tickled to death. It left me with a few problems, but it's not anything I can't overcome, and I've already come a long way."
Flores robbed about $50 from the antique store, which has since been closed.
"We're going to have a sale and get rid of everything," Milstead said. "I no longer feel comfortable there because I know the town has other people like him. I hope the women that work in this town remain cautious, because they need to."
Milstead lauded Paredez and Detective Arturo Gonzalez for their police work.
"I'm really pleased over it. They've been calling me and keeping me posted," Milstead said. "I really have an affection for these two men. I just want the people in this town to know what they do. I cannot say how attentive they have been toward me, that's Arturo Gonzalez and Rick Paredez.
"They are outstanding and I hope the people in this town really understand and know what wonderful men they've got working for them in the police department. Really, I can't say enough about the police department as whole. They are super. They got there so fast."
Police considered Flores a suspect in another nearby robbery the day before the Trash & Treasure robbery, but Flores was not charged with the Sept. 26 robbery of the Town & Country Community Store at 600 N. Fifth St.
Shopkeeper Sandra Gonzalez was assaulted during that robbery and left completely blind after the attack, which also occurred at about 2:30 p.m.
Gonzalez, who was already partially blind in one eye, suffered a torn cornea in her other eye and other facial injuries.
Police said her store was robbed of about $30. No one has been charged with that robbery and police said all leads have been exhausted.
"We figure he was involved in the other one, but we just couldn't prove it," Paredez said, adding there were few leads. "If anyone has any information that would help on that robbery, then we definitely encourage them to call the police department."
Police also investigated the possibility that another person was involved with Flores in the Trash & Treasure robbery.
"He always said there was someone else, but there was nobody else involved," Gonzalez said. "There was no accomplice on that. He was trying to create a smokescreen, but it turned out to just be him."