Fort Bliss soldier sentenced to 42 years in murder of roommate, who was a fellow soldier


A former Fort Bliss soldier sentenced to 42 years in prison for the murder of his roommate, who was also a soldier.

Joe Cabral was sentenced by a jury Friday afternoon in the 409th District Court in front of Judge J. Steve Ables.

After the sentencing verdict, Zachary McGuire’s mother, Amber Wright, spoke to Cabral telling him she’s not ready to forgive him.

“I try not to have hate but I’m living a hell everyday and I have been for over a year. I mean like I said, maybe one day I can forgive him but right now I can’t. I don’t think any of us can right now,” said Wright.

As KTSM previously reported, Private First Class Zachary McGuire, 21, was shot and killed after he and Cabral reportedly got into an argument while moving into an East El Paso apartment in February 2018.

Both men were stationed at Fort Bliss as infantrymen with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team at the time of the shooting. 

Cabral could have been sentenced anywhere from five to 99 years, or life, in prison. 

The prosecutor agreed with the defense that the sentence should not be life. Instead, Assistant District Attorney James Montoya asked the jury to consider the range of 35-45 years. Defense attorney Michael Gibson asked the jury to consider an even lighter sentence. 

This came after the jury heard from the mother’s of Cabral and McGuire. 

McGuire’s mom discusses the anxiety and PTSD she has battled since her son was killed. At one point the jury got to see a photo of her last hug with her son at an Atlanta airport. 

As she spoke, Cabral looked at the photos of McGuire being projected. 

Araceli Hernandez, the mother of Cabral, said her son was not enjoying being away from home for the first time. 

“I wish this event never happened. I know he had dreams, he had everything,” she told the jury with tears welling up. 

After she sat down a member of McGuire’s family walked down the pew and handed Cabral’s mother a tissue. 

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