Teen recorded himself sexually abusing, murdering 15-year-old girlfriend before sharing video with friends
18-year-old Jesus Campos Jr. was found guilty of killing Karen Perez whose body was found stuffed under the sink at an abandoned apartment in May 2016
A Texas teen who had brutally raped and murdered his girlfriend when they were both just 15 years old was found guilty of capital murder. Jesus Campos Jr., now 18-years-old, was convicted by a jury after less than an hour of deliberation, with video and photographic evidence proving key in his trial.
According to ABC30 Fresno, Campos was first charged with the murder of then-girlfriend Karen Perez in May 2016 after the latter's body was found stuffed under the sink at an abandoned apartment complex in South Houston. His juvenile status at the time meant that his identity was not made available to the public.
Investigators say the 18-year-old lured Perez out of class at the South Houston High School by threatening to kill her if she didn't agree to meet him at a nearby tennis court. Surveillance video from a local taqueria shows the two leaving together, and the pair is said to have then headed towards an abandoned apartment complex where Campos raped and strangled Perez while recording the entire act on his phone.
Three days after Perez had gone missing, Campos reportedly confessed to his father that she was not alive, which prompted the dad to take him to the Houston police to confess. However, the then-15-year-old would recant and say he had nothing to do with her disappearance, claiming he last saw her at the taqueria.
But soon enough, another teen came forward and called Texas Equusearch — a search and rescue organization dedicated to searching for missing persons — to confess that he was a part of a group that included Campos and Perez who had gone to the abandoned apartment that ill-fated evening. He said he and two other teens left and went back to school while the couple stayed back, and that it was the last he ever saw of Perez.
Detectives then uncovered recordings and graphic images of the rape and murder on Campos' phone. In the graphic footage — which Campos reportedly shared with friends after killing her — the Perez can be heard crying and begging the teen not to kill her, "I don't want to die."
These recordings and photographs were played for the jury during Campos' trial. Speaking of them, Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Meriwether said, "I've tried several capital murder cases. But the recording of Karen being raped, and pleading for her life before she was so viciously murdered, will stay with me for the rest of my life."
The jury would take little time to convict the 18-year-old of capital murder and the charge means he will automatically be sentenced to life in prison, though he will be eligible for parole after serving 40 years.