A 30-year-old man linked to the 2019 abduction and slaying of a 35-year-old mother of three was sentenced Thursday to 40 years in prison for his role in an unrelated carjacking and robbery that resulted in a shooting in Central Lubbock.

Paublo Reyes, who has been held at the Lubbock County Detention Center since July 2, 2019, appeared in the 346th District Court and pleaded guilty to a count of aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony that carries a punishment of five years to life in prison.

He admitted to his role in a July 2, 2019 carjacking and robbery of Michael McCoy who Lubbock police officers found suffering a gunshot wound in the 1300 block of 50th Street, police officials said.

McCoy told responding officers he was stopped at a red light at the intersection of University Avenue and 50th Street when two men armed with pistols entered his pickup truck and ordered him to drive to an ATM in the 1300 block of 50th Street, according to an arrest warrant.

The men stole his wallet when they arrived at the ATM and he ran out of his pickup truck. One of the men shot him and drove away in his pickup truck, which was found later that day abandoned near South University Avenue and 124th Street, the warrant states.

McCoy was taken by ambulance to a Lubbock hospital. Officials said the shooting left him paralyzed and he died in December 2022.

Investigators with the Lubbock Metropolitan Special Crimes Unit identified Reyes as one of the robbers and found him the same day of the robbery in the 1500 block of 38th Street, a police news release states.

Reyes reportedly admitted to the robbery but said the other robber, later identified as 35-year-old Brandon Cruz, was the one who shot McCoy. He said Cruz dropped him off and left in McCoy's truck.

Investigators also found Reyes' fingerprints in the pickup truck, the warrant states.

A third suspect, Joseph Sanchez, 37, also faces an aggravated robbery charge in connection with the case. He is being held at the Lubbock County Jail while his case is pending.

Reye's attorney, Jeff Nicholson said the plea deal the Lubbock County District Attorney's Office offered his client appropriately factored in his client's role in McCoy's shooting.

"My work with Mr. Reyes has been that he accepted responsibility under the law of parties for his involvement it very early on and has been remorseful," he said. "He's been in jail for about four years, no jail incidents that I'm aware of and was willing to take this."

Meanwhile, Cruz and Reyes were linked to a carjacking about a month earlier that resulted in the death of 35-year-old Sandy Cervantes.

Cruz was sentenced to life in prison without parole after pleading guilty in September to a count of capital murder.

Brandon CruzBrandon CruzBrandon Cruz

Cruz admitted to shooting and killing Cervantes in the course of robbing her.

Court records show that investigators believe Cruz abducted Cervantes on June 20, 2019, during a carjacking before shooting and killing her.

Two days later, Cervantes' purse was found in a dumpster in Abernathy. Two days after that, her Saturn Vue was found engulfed in flames in the 1000 block of Ceasar E. Chavez Drive.

However, Cervantes' disappearance was initially investigated as a missing persons case and wouldn't turn into a homicide until 10 months later when her remains were discovered in an abandoned home in Hockley County.

A man told police he remembered helping Cervantes refuel her vehicle that night. However, he said he was shoved in the trunk of his car by someone and he could hear two men force Cervantes to go with them.

He said he heard Cervantes say "Ow" before a vehicle sped off.

However, the man said he believed at the time that the robbers released Cervantes and she returned to her family. He said he called police after seeing the news reports of Cervantes' disappearance.

The man was re-interviewed by police in November 2020 and he identified Cruz and Reyes through a photo line up as the men who attacked him that night.

By then, both men were being held in connection with McCoy's robbery.

The next month, investigators spoke with Cruz and Reyes. Reyes denied any involvement in the robbery or in Cervantes' disappearance.

Cruz, on the other hand, boasted about manipulating Reyes into helping him rob the man who was helping Cervantes. However, he said he told Cervantes to leave and she left in her vehicle. He said he stole the woman's phone to prevent her from calling the police.

Police investigators obtained cell phone phone tower location data that indicated Cruz's phone was in the vicinity of the gas station where Cervantes was abducted, the house in Hockley County where her remains were discovered and where her car was set on fire, according to the warrant.

A forensic scientist with the Texas Department of Public Safety also compared the bullet found with Cervantes' remains and linked it to the gun found in McCoy's shooting.

Meanwhile, another witness told police Reyes told her that he and Cruz picked up a woman, tied her up and put her in the trunk of a car. She said Reyes told her they shot the woman and burned her vehicle.

She said Reyes said the woman cried and begged them to let her go and that Reyes was upset with Cruz because he didn't want to do it.

Reyes was served with an arrest warrant charging him with aggravated robbery for robbing Cervantes. But the case was never presented to a grand jury.


During Reyes' hearing, Cervantes' sister, Rachael, told him that his actions that night robbed three children of their mother.

"She didn't deserve this and I pray that the lord has mercy on your soul," she said.

Prosecutors could not comment on the case as Sanchez's case remains pending.

This article originally appeared on Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: Lubbock man sentenced to 40 years for role in 2019 robbery

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