A Harris County jury on Thursday convicted 18-year-old Jose E. Reyes of capital murder in a death tied to a satanic ritual, agreeing with prosecutors that another crime was committed when Corriann Cervantes was brutally killed.
Reyes was automatically sentenced to life in prison.
Jurors took a little more than an hour to reach a decision, rejecting arguments from defense attorneys that if Reyes was guilty of a crime, it would be murder.
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Moments after the verdict was announced in the courtroom, Cervantes’ aunt, Michelle Abernathy, said she blamed Reyes and his parents for the death of her 15-year-old niece.
Abernathy dressed down Reyes, saying he is “morally, spiritually dead.”
Jurors agreed with prosecutors, who sought a conviction on a charge of capital murder. Earlier Thursday, prosecutors said in closing arguments that Reyes’ own words prove he killed a girl because he wanted to sell his soul to the devil. . . .
The last piece of evidence in the trial that began Monday were letters from jail in which Reyes said the Devil was watching him and directing him to act during the slaying.
“He was standing there, watching me and Victor,” the teen wrote in a letter read to jurors Thursday.
“It’s all good. It’s what the Devil asked for.” . . .
Reyes is accused with Victor Alas, then 16, of strangling, bludgeoning and stabbing Cervantes in a vacant apartment in Clear Lake on Feb. 4. . . .
Prosecutors believe the three teens left a party to go to a vacant apartment to have consensual sex, but at some point Reyes told Alas he had sold his soul to the devil. Alas could also sell his soul, Reyes said, if they killed the teen.
The two then kept Cervantes from leaving the apartment as they beat, sexually assaulted and eventually killed her, prosecutors said. . . .
During the four-day trial, jurors saw graphic photos of heinous injuries that including an upside down cross carved on Cervantes’ stomach. Her right eye had been gouged out and she had been stabbed in the face and torso with a screwdriver. . . .
Medical examiners and investigators testified Cervantes was also sexually assaulted.
Reyes’ lawyers argued there was not enough evidence to believe the sexual assault took place while Cervantes was alive.
You know it’s got to be a bad day at work for a lawyer when the best he can do is try to save his 18-year-old client from a mandatory life sentence by claiming that the 15-year-old girl he admits his client killed was already dead before she was sexually assaulted.
Anyway, I thought you might be interested in that minor trivial bit of news. Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, police are looking for Bradley William Stone, 35, who they say killed six people in the suburbs of Philadelphia, and in Australia, commandos killed an terrorist who murdered two people during a standoff in downtown Sydney:
The gunman, identified as an Iranian refugee, had taken dozens of hostages.
Central Sydney was put in lockdown when the gunman seized the hostages early on Monday, forcing some of them to hold up a black Islamic banner at the window of the Lindt cafe.
The Lindt Chocolat Cafe is located in Martin Place, a busy shopping area in Sydney’s financial district.
The gunman was named as Man Haron Monis. He received political asylum in Australia in 1996 and was on bail facing a number of charges. . . .
Monis was on bail for being an accessory to the murder of his ex-wife. He also faced more than 40 sexual and indecent assault charges.
He had also been convicted of sending offensive letters to the families of deceased Australian soldiers.
The self-styled cleric, who described himself on a website as a Shia Muslim who had converted to Sunni Islam, was said by his former lawyer to have been an isolated figure.
Just another isolated incident. Random. And don’t pay any attention to those right-wing Christian fundamentalists who think Satan is real. Nobody killed your teenage daughter for Satan. Yet.
First published at TheOtherMcCain.com
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.