Texas man found guilty of fatally shooting sleeping roommate and victim's teen girlfriend who tried to flee
A jury found Hector Acosta-Ojeda, 30, guilty of capital murder in the Spetember 2017 slayings of Erick 'Diablo' Zelaya, 26, and his girlfriend Iris Chirinos, 17.
ARLINGTON, TEXAS: A Texas man, who was accused of beheading his roommate in his sleep and shooting dead the victim's teenage girlfriend as she tried to run off, has been found guilty of the crime.
During a five-day trial, prosecutors described to a Tarrant County jury how Hector Acosta-Ojeda, 30, who goes by the nickname 'El Cholo,' shot and killed his roommate Erick 'Diablo' Zelaya, 26, and his girlfriend Iris Chirinos, 17, in September 2017 as an act of revenge, according to the Daily Mail.
They said he shot Zelaya twice in the head as he slept before turning his attention to Chirinos and fatally shooting her as she tried to run for her life. After killing them, he went into his backyard and dug a shallow grave for their bodies.
But because he wanted to send a message, he then picked up a machete, cut off Zelaya's head, placed it in a trash bag, and then dumped it near a man-made trail near the AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
He had also placed a sign in Spanish next to the head which read, "La Raza Se Resreta y Faltan 4," which loosely translates to 'The group must be respected and there are only four.
Prosecutors said the head had been left at a location that was close to a house where Acosta-Ojeda previously lived that had burned down in May 2017. Gunmen had opened fire on the house as the defendant and others slept inside, with Zelaya and Chirinos reportedly showing up at the residence moments later and seemingly laughing. The next day, the house was burned down.
Tarrant County Assistant District Attorney Kevin Rousseau revealed to the jury that Zelaya had confessed involvement in the shootings to Acosta-Ojeda and that just hours later, the 30-year-old had killed both him and his girlfriend.
Despite the defense's plea that the prosecution had not proven beyond a reasonable doubt that their client was behind the brutal killings, the jury deliberated for a little over five hours before finding Acosta-Ojeda guilty of capital murder.
Prosecutors will seek the death penalty for Acosta-Ojeda during the sentencing hearing, which started on November 6. If the jury cannot unanimously agree on capital punishment, the 30-year-old will receive a mandatory sentence of life without the possibility of parole.