Judge Cliff Brown sentenced a former Pedernales firefighter to 60 years for murder and 20 years for tampering with evidence. The time will be served concurrently.
On Tuesday a Travis County jury found Joe Carr, 29, guilty of killing his ex-girlfriend Veronica Navarro in less than an hour. Navarro's body was wrapped in a tent, weighted down with a paint can and cinder block in Lake Travis.
Family members on both sides cried as Judge Brown announced his decision.
"We're happy about the judge's decision. He got what he deserved. My daughter is watching from up there," said Sanjuana Rodriguez, Veronica's mom.
"It's closure. It's a big step," said Ana Karen Perez, Veronica's cousin.
Carr's defense attorney, John Carsey, asked the judge to make the decision instead of the jury. Carsey asked the judge to consider Carr's age and how old he would be if given a life term.
That's what the state wanted. Prosecutors asked for a life sentence.
"Judge this is one of the most horrific crimes the state has come across," said Assistant District Attorney Amy Meredith during her closing argument.
The state called Carr's former girlfriends to testify. One, who did not want to be identified, told the judge Carr tried to hold her down and kiss her on a date. While she didn't press charges she did file for a protective order. Two ex-girlfriends shared similar stories about how Carr would offer to buy them vehicles and even proposed marriage after a few short months of dating.
Two Travis County Sheriff's Office deputies were also called the stand. While Carr was in the Travis County jail, he asked for pictures of a female jailer so he could draw her. He also kept a calendar of the female jailer's schedules.
Before the courtroom emptied Veronica's cousin and sister had the chance to speak freely to Carr.
"Thanks to the judge our family can be at peace and I feel sorry for your parents especially your mom," said Perez.
"I don't feel sorry for you. I feel sorry for your mom Joe. You took a wonderful and special person from us. I hope her last breath and image haunts you," said Jackie DeLeon, Veronica's sister.
Carr will have to serve 30 years before he is eligible for parole.