Man accused of shooting, killing postal worker sentenced to 22 years in prison

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Jose Hernandez wasn’t just a postal worker, he was a well-loved family man who jumped in to help when he saw a woman in trouble.

“This sentence cannot replace the husband, the father, the brother, the friend that was taken in this act of violence,” said Alexander Uballez, U.S. attorney. 

In a plea agreement, Xavier Zamora admitted to shooting and killing Hernandez. 

It happened while Hernandez was on his mail route, and he saw Zamora fighting with his mom and intervened. 

Uballez says Hernandez fought for 20 minutes before Zamora shot him in the stomach.  

“Jose was a combat veteran who fought for our country in Iraq but died on U.S. soil. He died protecting a stranger from violence,” Uballez said.  

Postal service officials say this type of violence has been on the rise in recent years. 

“Nationwide we have experienced an increase in letter carrier assaults, robberies across the country,” said Gren Torbenson, USPS assistant inspector in charge of Phoenix Division.

On Tuesday, Zamora was sentenced to 22 years in prison as part of the plea deal. 

Uballez says the sentence is close to what the maximum would be if the case had gone to trial. 

He says Tuesday’s sentencing is a message to violent offenders like him.

“By the time he’s released he will spend more than half his adult life in prison. But when you take a life, your youth with not absolve you of responsibility, your violence will be met with consequences,” said Uballez.  

Zamora was 17 years old at the time of the shooting. Hernandez worked as a mail carrier for almost 12 years. 

The U.S. attorney says this case is just another example of the justice that can be served when several agencies work together. 

State, local, and federal authorities worked together on this one.