The Justice Department says it will not seek the death penalty for the two men involved in a smuggling attempt that ended in the deaths of 53 illegal immigrants in Texas earlier this year. 

The decision to take the death penalty off the table was made on Monday, October 31st. 

“Review by the Attorney General has been completed and his decision has been received. The Government will NOT seek a death sentence against these defendants,” the U.S. attorney’s office said in a filing, reported The Washington Times.

Homero Zamorano Jr., the driver in the incident, and Christian Martinez, the “mastermind in the incident,” face four smuggling charges each including one of transporting illegal aliens resulting in death. Even without the death penalty, the charge of smuggling resulting in death could result in a lifelong prison sentence. 

Investigators say they had been keeping an eye on Martinez prior to the tragic incident. Martinez and Zamorano maintain that they did not know the air conditioning on the trailer had stopped working.

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