Woman sentenced for her role in 2019 murder of Melvin Fabian

Cisneros helped hide the murder weapon and a pair of shoes belonging to the shooter

Sarah Delette Sturm Cisneros

Sarah Sturm Cisneros

VICTORIA, Texas – Sarah Sturm Cisneros, 36 of Victoria, pled guilty to tampering with physical evidence in connection with the February 2019 murder of Melvin Fabian, 71, of Victoria.

Cisneros was sentenced to ten years in the Institutional Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, the maximum prison sentence possible for a third degree felony offense. She was also assessed a $5,000 fine.

Cisneros was originally charged as a party to Fabian’s death, but Cisneros testified for the State in the murder trial of Christopher Isadore Varela, Jr. in December 2021.

Eyewitness testimony and forensic evidence showed that on February 1, 2019, Varela fatally shot Melvin Fabian three times through his apartment door following a domestic dispute between Fabian and a family member of Cisneros’. Following the shooting, Cisneros and Varela hid the murder weapon and a pair of Varela’s shoes on a rural property in Goliad County.

At the conclusion of Varela’s trial, a Victoria County jury found him guilty of murder and tampering with physical evidence and sentenced him to 99 years in prison.

The victim’s family was consulted regarding Cisneros’ plea bargain. The case was investigated by the Victoria Police Department and prosecuted by Criminal District Attorney Constance Filley Johnson.Cisneros was represented by defense attorney Jerry Clark. Judge Elí Garza, presided over the proceeding.

Read previous articles on this case here.