A San Antonio man was sentenced to 50 years in prison Thursday for killing the owner of an East Side convenience store.
Zion Talavera, 22, pled guilty to shooting Gemunu Gamarachchilage during a robbery at Gamarachchilage’s convenience store at 815 North New Braunfels on July 30, 2019. It was the third hold-up Talavera had committed that day. Talavera had committed another aggravated robbery on July 29, 2019. Gamarachchilage, also known as James, was taken to a hospital where he underwent more than 100 surgeries for his injuries. James was finally discharged from the hospital on Dec. 16, 2020. Within 12 hours, James died from his injuries. He was 58.
During the sentencing hearing, James’s widow testified the Sri Lanka native “was a fighter and fought to get as strong as he could.”
“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 pled guilty to aggravated robbery and is expected to be sentenced next week.
Assistant District Attorney Austin Stout of the Criminal Trial Division prosecuted these cases in the 186th District Court. The San Antonio Police Department investigated the crimes.