By DINA ARÉVALO
Port Isabel-South Padre Press
Almost 10 years after the death of Hermilia Garcia Hernandez, Amit Livingston, convicted of her murder, arrived in the Rio Grande Valley to serve his sentence.
Livingston shot Hernandez, an Edinburg schoolteacher, on Sept. 30, 2005. Less than a month later, on Oct. 4, her body was found on South Padre Island. Livingston was arrested in connection with the case that same month. He pleaded guilty in February 2007 and was sentenced to 23 years in prison.
Then, in what current Cameron County District Attorney Luis V. Saenz says was “absolutely not standard,” the judge presiding over the case, Abel Limas, allowed Livingston 60 days before he had to report to serve his sentence.
Livingston fled, eventually turning up in India.
“Because of him (Livingston) this office had been tarnished,” Saenz said Thursday, saying he made it a top priority to find and arrest Livingston when he first came to the DA’s office in January 2013.
“It’s a great week for Cameron County,” Saenz said. “It’s a great week for the victim’s family and equally great for the District Attorney’s office,” he said.
Saenz also credited the multi-agency cooperation needed to secure Livingston’s arrest and extradition.
“It took the efforts of the local officials in India, who cooperated with us,” he said, adding that members of the U.S. State Department, Special Services officers in New Delhi and U.S. Marshals in Brownsville also helped in the process.
Finally, Saenz expressed the importance Livingston’s recapture was for providing closure to Hernandez;s family. “For the family, it’s very important. This is a day that the victim’s mother and her family waited 10 years for,” he said.
“We can now move forward and once and for all close the chapter on this very dark period of time that we went through,” he said.
Amit Livingston will serve his sentence in Huntsville.
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