Local News

Apr 17, 2014 10:42 AM by Janine Reyes

Villegas Executed for Murders of Corpus Christi Family

CORPUS CHRISTI -- A man who killed three members of the same family back in 2001 was executed Wednesday evening.

Jose Luis Villegas Jr., 39, was pronounced dead at 7:04 PM after receiving a lethal injection of drugs at the state's death chamber in Huntsville, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

6 News caught up with a family who's spent 29 years in the neighborhood where the terrible crime happened. One woman, who is now a mother herself, remembers the day she came home from Martin Middle School to discover her neighbors had been killed.

Josette De La Garza says she remembers 3-year-old Jacob Salazar, his mother, Erida Rosales and his grandmother Alma Perez. She says little Jacob would often come over to play with the dog and ride his bike and her memory of the murders in January 2001 will never leave her mind.

Speaking about Villegas' execution, De La Garza said, "Well I'm glad, he needs it. When I saw that little boy with the big knife stuck to the wooden floor, yeah he needs it he needs it. That was sad I mean I was so attached to that little boy."

She also says she remembers Villegas had just been released from jail when the murders happened. But police caught him quickly, so she didn't fear for her safety too much at the time. She did often wonder what happened to a little girl who lived in the house, but was at school when the killings happened.

Villegas' attorney tried fighting the execution saying his IQ fell below 70 and that made his execution illegal. But, District Attorney Mark Skurka argued that evidence of a mental incapacity never surfaced in the trial back in 2002.

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