Tempers flared in a Travis County courtroom Thursday after an Austin man was sentenced to life in prison for killing his wife. The body of Julie Ann Gonzalez has never been found which is why the family of George De La Cruz believes the trial was a miscarriage of justice.
When the life sentence was read Julie Ann Gonzalez's family cried and gave thanks. But the scene in the courtroom quickly turned as George De La Cruz was lead out by deputies.
"Justice for Julie. The criminal is gone," shouted several people in the courtroom
"I'm a mother of two why give up when there is no body," said a young woman to the mother of Julie Ann Gonzalez.
The outburst ended after a Sheriff's deputy issued a warning, "hey that's enough, nobody else needs to go to Jail."
The De La Cruz family, including his mother, continued to voice their anger outside the courtroom.
"George is innocent; sooner or later she is coming back. Don't stop looking for your daughter. Look everywhere ... because she is somewhere ... she is alive," said Victoria De La Cruz.
The life sentence for George De La Cruz comes with the possibility of parole in 30 years. The sentence could not fill the lingering emptiness for Sandra Soto, Julie Ann's mother, because her daughter's body still remains missing.
"He is not going to have any freedom, that's a comfort, it's not closure. But it is a comfort knowing that what he did to Julie he did to himself too."
A member of the jury told FOX 7 when deliberations began the majority of the group quickly started leaning toward a guilty verdict. The trial lasted about a week and a half. But the key evidence for the jury came on one of the last days. The jury just could not ignore tracking data from cellphone towers. The information was put Gonzalez's phone after she disappeared near locations De La Cruz was at or frequented. Images from store surveillance cameras and receipts made during a shopping spree he made with her debit card were matched up on a timeline map.
The information confirmed - what her family already knew - Julie Ann was gone. Sandra Soto said despite the loss- says she still talks to her daughter.
"So in my prayers tonight, she will come to me and hopefully she will tell me mom, I'm ok."
Soto trying to get full custody of her granddaughter who is currently living with De La Cruz's mother. Keith Lauerman, the lead attorney for George De La Cruz said an appeal will be filed.
On a side note; there is a real possibility there are two to three accomplices who helped dispose of Gonzalez's body and/ or helped with the cover up. Prosecutors tell FOX7 they have not decided if they will try to tack down those who took part in the crime.