South Texas Man Aquitted of Murder
The aquittal of a Southeast Texas man serves as an excellent example of the how a sympathetic defendant can effect a jury’s verdict. David Barajas had been charged with the shooting death of a drunken driver who caused a crash that killed the defendant’s two children. Prosecutors had alleged that Barajas had killed Jose Banda in a fit of rage after the driver had run down his 11 and 12 year old boys. Prosecutors theorized Barajas ran to his nearby home, retrieved his gun, and shot Banda. There were no eye witnesses, the gun was never recovered, and gunshot residue test on the defendant came back negative. The jury deliberated three hours before acquittal.
In this case all sympathy and emotion was on the side of the defendant. Two innocent children were killed by the drunken driving of the victim. All the jurors could empathize with Barajas. When the state presented a weak case it was easy for the jury to find not guilty and point at the lack of direct evidence which lead to reasonable doubt. The defense always has a better chance for acquittal if they can portray the victim in a bad light. This is why self-defense can be so effective in assault and murder trials.
Had there been more evidence against the defendant it is doubtful the jury would have returned a harsh punishment. The criminal attorney would have requested a Heat Of Passion charge in the punishment stage. If the jury determines the defendant killed while in the heat of passion the punishment range is capped at twenty years.
If you or a loved one have been charged with Texas murder or assault charges consult with a Texas murder attorney as soon as possible to explore all possible defenses available under Texas law.