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Man found guilty of murder
Tepanca receives life sentence in 2008 shooting
0420hugo tepanca
Hugo Moguel Tepanca

Barring a successful appeal, Hugo Moguel Tepanca will spend the rest of his life in prison for shooting a 23-year-old man outside of a Gainesville home.

On Monday, a Hall County jury found Tepanca guilty of one count each of murder, felony murder, aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.

Tepanca’s attorneys had sought a charge of voluntary manslaughter instead of murder.

After the jury issued the verdict, Judge Kathlene Gosselin told Tepanca, 30, he would spend the rest of his life in prison for the murder charge and another five years for possessing a firearm during the commission of a crime.

Both sentences are mandated by state law, Gosselin said.

Tepanca shot and killed Jose Sanchez “Marcos” Vargas on April 20, 2008, outside of a Merck Street residence.

Last week, when Tepanca took the stand, his recounting of that day’s events included many details he never told in a videotaped interrogation after the shooting.

During that interview with investigators, Tepanca said Vargas, who he had never met before, looked at his wife wrong and made an obscene hand gesture in traffic.

Tepanca testified Thursday that on the day of the shooting, he saw Vargas outside a home talking to Alicia Hernandez, a woman with whom Tepanca was having an affair.

Tepanca approached Vargas’ SUV and asked him what he was doing and Vargas replied that it was “none of his business,” Tepanca testified.

Tepanca said that in a distraught fit of jealousy, he pulled a handgun out and fired a shot into the ground.

Tepanca said shortly after firing the shot, he left the home alone in his truck. He said he encountered Vargas in traffic a short time later and words were exchanged, with Vargas making threats.

The encounter ended in front of a Merck Street home, where Vargas parked his SUV and exited the car. Tepanca remained in his truck.

Tepanca said he shot Vargas with a 9 mm handgun after Vargas made a motion toward him with his right hand.

Vargas, who was unarmed, was shot several times.

Tepanca has 30 days to appeal the ruling.

Staff writer Stephen Gurr contributed to this report.

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