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Injured postal worker convinces judge to give shooter lighter sentence

Injured postal worker convinces judge to give shooter lighter sentence

SAN ANTONIO – A man accused of shooting a postal worker is sentenced to 20 years in federal prison.

It’s surprising Bradley A’Hearn didn’t get more prison time because a federal judge was ready to throw the book at him, but relented and gave a lighter sentence after hearing from the injured postal worker.

"My hope is he will use the time he's been given to make a better life for himself and the people around him,” Marie Sebastian said in her first and only on-camera statement about the day last year she was shot on the job.

The crime forced a multi-day manhunt that included a highway police chase and a lockdown at North Star Mall. Finally, the three suspects were cornered and captured at a south side motel.

In federal court Thursday morning, the judge was initially outraged by a plea deal that would have A’Hearn spending just 20 years behind bars.

"The defendant actually had the gall to shoot a postal employee, and then had the further gall” to drive down a highway and shoot at police officers, Judge Orlando Garcia said.

But then, Sebastian stepped forward. She took the judge back to February 2017, when she delivered mail at a Spring Branch community mailbox on what was supposed to be her last day at work before becoming a missionary.

"I had gone halfway through the boxes and the Holy Spirit told me to look up,” Sebastian recalled.

She saw a masked man coming toward her. He wanted her cell phone and opened fire. She laid on the ground for 25 minutes with three bullet holes in her leg.

She’s had four surgeries since the shooting and needs two more.

Despite it all, Sebastian told the judge that “the Lord went through a lot of trouble to make sure [A'hearn] didn't get away with what he was doing that day. It makes my heart soar to see him healthy and off drugs.”

All she asked was that A’Hearn use the lighter sentence of 20 years behind bars wisely.

By EMILY BAUCUM

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