'Tiger man' Victor Cuevas sentenced to 18 years in prison for 2017 Fort Bend County murder

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The man at the center of one of Houston's most outlandish wild animal encounters will spend 18 years in prison for murder.

A jury handed down the sentence for Victor Cuevas, who most people know as "the tiger man," on Tuesday afternoon.

READ MORE: Viral tiger handler Victor Cuevas found guilty in trial of 2017 Fort Bend County murder

Cuevas was found guilty of shooting and killing a man at a shopping center in Fort Bend County back in July 2017 during his trial last week.

Cuevas was out on a $125,000 bond when a video circulated of him wrangling a tiger in a west Houston neighborhood in May 2021. The sighting drew national attention, partially due to the unknown whereabouts of the tiger after Cuevas took off from the neighborhood.

ORIGINAL STORY: Murder suspect who was linked to tiger in west Houston has been arrested on evading charges
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The suspect is now in custody, but the question remains - where is the tiger?

At one point, a city-wide search took place to find the tiger, named India.

Cuevas was later apprehended on a felony evading arrest charge, but without the tiger. To this day, the 26-year-old faces no charges for the loose animal. Texas allows exotic animal ownership, but it's prohibited within Houston city limits.

In the weeks following the arrest, Fort Bend County courts revoked his bond, which raised the amount from the original $125,000, but Cuevas was able to afford the increased amounts.

SEE ALSO: Suspect's wife turned India the tiger over to authorities, HPD says

Over that time, Cuevas' attorney had insisted his client didn't outright own India.

As for India, Cuevas' wife turned the tiger, who was found in good health after going missing, over to authorities after Victor's arrest. The animal was then transferred to a local shelter, before finally receiving a permanent home at Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch in north Texas.

How is India the tiger adapting to his new north Texas home?

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How is India the tiger loving his new home in Murchison, Texas? The ranch gave a live update about the big cat!

Tiger's handler, who is accused of murder, reveals plans if he kept animal
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Victor Cuevas wrote about his original plans for the tiger, who he called "my best friend, my teammate, my workout buddy, my dance partner, my happiness."

How Linda McIngvale helped murder suspect's wife lead tiger to authorities
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India the tiger has been through a lot! Here's what next for him and where he'll live out the rest of his life.

India the tiger safely transferred to North Texas animal sanctuary
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Farewell, India The tiger was loaded up to a trailer and headed out to a ranch to live with other tigers.

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