Trial Proves Heartbreaking for Family of Slain Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry

Brian Terry statue located at the Brian Terry Border Patrol Station in Southern Arizona
Photo: Facebook/Kelly Terry-Willis

The opening of the murder trial against two men accused of murdering U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry brought heartbreak to Terry’s family. Members of the Terry family traveled from their homes in Michigan and other parts of the country to Tucson to observe the trial personally.

“Yesterday was a very heart-wrenching day for my family,” Kelly Terry-Willis said in an interview with Breitbart Texas. Kelly is the sister of Brian Terry. “To see pictures of Brian in lifeless form and to hear details from agents who were with Brian when he was killed took our breath away.”

Brian Terry was murdered on the night of December 14th, 2010, near the Arizona/Mexico border when he and members of his BORTAC team came upon a “rip crew” they had been dispatched to find. Rip crews are groups of Mexican bandits that roam the mountains of southern Arizona. Their objective is to find cartel drug or human smuggling convoys and rob them.

Upon finding the rip crew, a gun battle ensued and Agent Terry was shot. He died from his wounds before reaching the hospital

“It was grueling,” Terry-Willis said of the trial’s opening, “but we stayed strong. It’s not easy to sit in a courtroom, feet from the defense. Today, we should hear more testimony from Brian’s other teammates that were out there that horrific night.”

During opening testimony, prosecutors said Ivan Soto Barraza and Lionel Portillo-Meza, also known as Jesus Leonel Sanchez-Meza, killed Terry near Rio Rico in 2010, according to KVOA in Tucson. The defense claims Border Patrol agents opened fire on them and that they were simply defending themselves.

Breitbart Texas’ Ildefonso Ortiz previously reported the judge in the case ordered that the governments failed Fast and Furious Operation not be mentioned during the trial. Two of the guns found at the scene of the gunfight were eventually tied to the Fast and Furious Operation.

Another Terry family member, Robert Heyer, told reporters in Tucson, “Our focus is the successful conviction of these two defendants. If that means, with respect to this particular prosecution of these two defendants, that Operation ‘Fast and Furious’ remain separate, then the Terry family is fine with that.” Heyer also serves as chairman of the Brian Terry Foundation.

Heyer also told reporters how difficult it is for the family to sit there and view the graphic images of the murder of their loved one and to hear the details of that horrific night. He said that despite that pain, the family’s primary interest is that justice be served.

Bob Price serves as senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas and a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.


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