HIDALGO COUNTY, Texas (ValleyCentral) — A San Juan man will spend decades in prison after being found guilty of murdering a woman in McAllen.

On Friday, a Hidalgo County court sentenced Lamar Martinez Lawson, 29, to 65 years in prison for murdering Sonya Mynette De La Cruz, a 51-year-old woman from McAllen, in 2017. Martinez Lawson also is ordered to pay a $7 thousand fine.

Police say on Nov. 28, 2017, De La Cruz was found dead on the side of the road near the 600 block of West Beach Avenue around 5 a.m.

Surveillance video from nearby residences showed a man picking up De La Cruz at a motel. He later drove to a parking lot where the two exited the vehicle and walked to the area where De La Cruz was later found dead. Martinez Lawson was seen running from the area alone on surveillance video shortly after this.

De La Cruz died as a result of “blunt force trauma to the face and head,” according to police.

Martinez Lawson, a San Juan resident, was identified as a suspect in her death and was arrested on Nov. 30, 2017. He was indicted in February 2018 for the murder charge. The indictment states Martinez Lawson killed De La Cruz by striking her with his hand and shoving her against an object.

A trial was first scheduled for the case in February 2020 but prosecutors and defense attorneys could not agree on a jury selection.

The COVID-19 pandemic delayed hearings and trial settings on the matter for most of 2020 and 2021.

Martinez Lawson pleaded not guilty to the charge but was found guilty by a jury during the course of the trial which concluded on Tuesday. He is credited for the four years of jail time he has served since his arrest.