Local News

Illegal immigrant convicted in fatal hit-and-run

Posted August 22, 2008

— A Johnston County jury on Friday found an illegal immigrant guilty in connection with a fatal hit-and-run that killed a Clayton man and his son more than a year ago.

Luciano Tellez, 32, was convicted of one count of felony hit-and-run and two counts of second-degree murder in the March 4, 2007, deaths of Jerry "Duane" Braswell, 35, and his 9-year-old son, Jerry Braswell Jr.

Authorities said Tellez ran a stop sign at the intersection of N.C. Highway 210 and Plainview Church Road near Angier and rammed into a tractor-trailer that Braswell was driving and in which his son was riding. The rig veered off the road, overturned and caught fire, killing Braswell and his son. Tellez, who authorities believe was drinking, fled the scene on foot.

Tellez was to sentenced to 32 to 40 years in prison, with the three sentences to be served one after the other. He also is under a federal detainer, which means that he will be turned over to federal authorities for deportation when his sentence is complete.

Before sentencing, the elder Braswell's father testified that Tellez showed no emotion during the trial and had no remorse for what he did, and he asked that Tellez get a maximum sentence.

"Instead of running to try to help my son, he ran from the scene," he said. "He left my son and grandson to burn to death."

Tellez told the court earlier Friday that it was his friend who was driving and that he agreed to take the blame after his friend agreed to bail him out of jail.

He also said he did not know the collision was fatal and that if he had known, he would have stayed to talk with investigators.

Tellez's defense attorney summarized letters from his family who said he is a "good and respectful person," a good provider for his wife and children and that he had to immigrate to the U.S. from Mexico to provide for his family and his sick mother.

At the time of his arrest, he was wanted for violating his probation on a drunken driving conviction in 2005 and had a suspended license.


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  • humbleblaklady Aug 22, 2008

    NOT ENOUGH "TIME" FOR THE "CRIME"! But I also feel the same way about the N.C. State student who drove drunk and was let off on probation. IF YOU DRINK--DON'T DRIVE!

  • saturn5 Aug 22, 2008

    Previous conviction in 2005 and still in the country. Our immigration authorities are also to blame for these tragic deaths.

    May they rest in peace.

  • dcatz Aug 22, 2008

    There is an easy solution to illegal immigration

    1.Forget the wall. Deploy the military along the Mexican border and shoot anyone attempting to cross it illegally on sight. It's no different than an invading army.

    2.Anyone that knowingly aids and abets illegal aliens should be tried for treason against the United States.

  • rargos Aug 22, 2008

    Illegal immigration is killing this country -- in 30-40 years the U.S. will be a third-world country. Drunk illegals killing innocent Americans is just the tip of the iceberg.

  • TomLynda Aug 22, 2008

    oldschooltarheel. Well said. Until this madness of letting the illegals get away with muder (literally), this is only going to get worse as more and more get here every day. By entering our country illegally, they prove then and there that they have zero respect for our laws and customs, and every last one of them needs to be treated like the criminals they are. If one of us would try to enter a country illegally like they do, you can guess what would happen to us. We would be "locked up abroad".

    We have a chance in November to change some of this. Throw the ones in office out that support this madness and elect those who will take firm action against it. Regardless of party.

    All these "cheap workers" do is lower the wage rate for real Americans. The contractors that hire them are just as guilty. They still charge top dollar for the overall contract and pay pitance, thus they have more money than they know what to do with. My own son-in-law is one of these.

  • oldschooltarheel Aug 22, 2008

    MSN93- maybe it'll stop when WRAL stops censoring real public opinion. Having been hit & damaged by one of these "hard workers" I take a dim view to all drunk drivers but especially illegal aliens who are taught to run from their "mistakes" b/c they can get away with it. The USA is being overrun by those who want to take advantage of our country b/c they "have needs". Grow up, get n line & learn English - in short, be ready to be an accountable citizen & then be considered. Otherwise prison work farm them - they're hard workers afterall - rent them out to local farmers for field work like they are doing successfully in Colorado (thanks Tom!).

  • colliedave Aug 22, 2008

    At the time of his arrest, he was wanted for violating his probation on a drunken driving conviction in 2005 and had a suspended license

    more indication of problems with our probation/judical system. Why wasn't his sorry rear booted out of the country on his first DUI conviction?

  • teacher-mom Aug 22, 2008

    green_eyes that young student was an outstanding engineering student who had no previous convictions. He was lucky that he did not go to jail. He was given a second chance. This man, on the other hand, was in violation of probation and was here illegally. There is a difference here.

  • NCSULandscaper Aug 22, 2008

    it would be alot cheaper for all of us if they went ahead and stuck the needle in, set an example for the rest of the illegals who want to do as they wish

  • NCGal Aug 22, 2008

    "I believe the cost of human life is too high to pay for cheap labor," Emily Moose, mother of Scott Gardner- August 25, 2006