April 20 (UPI) -- A federal judge gave life in prison Friday to a Kentucky truck driver who transported dozens of migrants in the back of his truck -- 10 of whom died in the sweltering Texas heat last summer.
James Matthew Bradley Jr., 61, pleaded guilty in October to one count of conspiracy to transport aliens resulting in death and one count of transporting aliens resulting in death. In addition to life imprisonment, Bradley must forfeit his tractor-trailer rig, about $5,600 and a .38-caliber pistol recovered from the cab of the truck.
Investigators said that based on interviews with the survivors, more than 100 people were inside the trailer as it reached 100 degrees outside in July 2017. When the truck stopped in San Antonio and the doors were opened at a Walmart, eight people were dead and dozens others were injured, some of whom had "irreversible brain damage," the San Antonio fire chief said. Two others died after hospitalization.
When the doors to the trailer were opened, some of the occupants fled the scene, police said, and they found 39 undocumented immigrants.
"Were it not for his actions, they might still be alive today," Attorney General Jeff Sessions said of Bradley. "This case is a reminder of why the Trump administration and this Department of Justice have renewed our commitment to enforcing our criminal immigration laws and why we are going to continue to work to secure our borders."
During his first court appearance, Bradley said he wasn't aware anyone was inside the trailer.
"I am so sorry it happened," Bradley said in court Friday. "There's not a day or night that goes by that I don't relive this scene."