A Mexican drug smuggler who crossed the border illegally, then beat a National Park Service employee nearly to death in Arizona was sentenced to 76 years in prison on Monday.
In 2013, Gil Gaxiola assaulted a senior citizen working for the National Park Service in Chiricahua National Monument. He beat her with a rock and left her for dead in a bathroom. Then he stole her Park Service pickup truck.
Gaxiola was detained the next day on an immigration-related charge by the U.S. Border Patrol in Douglas, Arizona, according to the National Park Service. On Monday, he received the long sentence after he was convicted of first degree attempted murder, armed robbery, assault, kidnapping and theft.
During the trial, prosecutors argued Gaxiola was a drug smuggler who stole the vehicle to return to Mexico. His victim told the jury she was a recent widow and suffered a brain injury from the attack.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The story has been modified to correct the charges Gaxiola faced when he was arrested.