Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Man gets life in prison for attempted murder of Hillsborough deputy

TAMPA — Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee doesn't usually appear in court for the many criminal cases that originate from his agency. But Friday morning he was there.

Standing before Circuit Judge Emmett Battles, Gee explained why he thought Miguel Serrano deserved to go to prison for the rest of his life.

"The thing I fear the most is that dreaded phone call I receive that tells me one of my deputies has been killed or wounded in the line of duty," Gee said. "This case represents the judicial conclusion to one of those awful events."

He recounted how Serrano struggled with Deputy Miguel Galarza and shot him in the neck after Galarza responded to a 911 call at a Town 'N Country apartment in 2009. Serrano was in the midst of a home invasion robbery when Galarza arrived.

"I am compelled to point out that had the bullet that entered Miguel's neck killed or crippled him, there would be very little interest in leniency in Mr. Serrano's case," Gee said. "The seriousness of the crime and conviction is so profound that it bears your strongest sanction: life in prison."

Battles later did as Gee had hoped, imposing four life sentences for Serrano's multiple convictions, which included attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, armed burglary and robbery.

Serrano stood with his head bowed, his hands cuffed in front of him, as Battles read the sentence.

Galarza also spoke at the sentencing hearing, telling of his physical and mental scars.

"I will always have these scars on my neck," he said, choking back tears. "In our life, our thoughts become choices and choices become actions. Our actions have consequences which are ours to bear. That night, Mr. Serrano already made his choice that human life is unimportant to him."

No one spoke on Serrano's behalf, and he did not make a statement.

After using a Spanish interpreter for most of the trial, Serrano listened without assistance Friday. When the judge asked him whether he understood what was being said, he nodded and said "yes."

"I think Deputy Galarza said it best — he made choices," Battles said. "And those choices bring him here today to be held to account. Everything that this court heard convinces the court that he is a danger."

The judge also sentenced Serrano to 42 years for three lesser offenses, including obstructing an officer with violence and armed false imprisonment.

Later, Gee said he believed the life sentence was a fair outcome. He chose to speak at the hearing to try to ensure that Serrano received the maximum sentence.

"You never know what a judge is going to do, and I respect the burden that he has," Gee said. "I think we really need to send a strong message that if you hurt one of these guys, you're going to jail for the rest of your life.

"They wear that bulletproof vest, but the only thing that really protects them is the law."

Dan Sullivan can be reached at [email protected]

Man gets life in prison for attempted murder of Hillsborough deputy 01/21/11 [Last modified: Friday, January 21, 2011 11:37pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Review: Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald team up to cool down the Clearwater Jazz Holiday

    Blogs

    A cool breeze swept through Coachman Park Saturday night. Couple of them, actually.

    Kenny Loggins performed at the Clearwater Jazz Holiday on Oct. 21, 2017.
  2. No. 16 USF hangs on at Tulane, off to first 7-0 start

    College

    NEW ORLEANS — After half a season of mismatches, USF found itself in a grudge match Saturday night.

    USF quarterback Quinton Flowers (9) runs for a touchdown against Tulane during the first half of an NCAA college football game in New Orleans, La., Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Derick E. Hingle) LADH103
  3. Lightning buries Penguins (w/video)

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Ryan Callahan spent a lot of time last season rehabilitating his injured hip alongside Steven Stamkos, who was rehabbing a knee after season-ending surgery. During those hours, Callahan noticed two things about Stamkos: his hunger and his excitement to return this season.

    Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Slater Koekkoek (29) advances the puck through the neutral zone during the first period of Saturday???‚??„?s (10/21/17) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Pittsburgh Penguins at Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  4. Spain planning to strip Catalonia of its autonomy

    World

    BARCELONA, Spain — The escalating confrontation over Catalonia's independence drive took its most serious turn Saturday as Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain announced he would remove the leadership of the restive region and initiate a process of direct rule by the central government in Madrid.

    Demonstrators in Barcelona protest the decision to take control of Catalonia to derail the independence movement.
  5. Funeral held for soldier at center of political war of words (w/video)

    Nation

    COOPER CITY — Mourners remembered not only a U.S. soldier whose combat death in Africa led to a political fight between President Donald Trump and a Florida congresswoman but his three comrades who died with him.

    The casket of Sgt. La David T. Johnson of Miami Gardens, who was killed in an ambush in Niger. is wheeled out after a viewing at the Christ The Rock Church, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017  in Cooper City, Fla. (Pedro Portal/Miami Herald via AP) FLMIH102