One of six men accused of killing a local couple during a home invasion appeared in court today in hopes of getting out of jail.
Trebor Wheeler is accused of killing of Arturo and Miriam Lopez at their home on Balchuck Lane back on April 2.
Wheeler, reportedly told investigators that the home invasion was retaliation against the Lopez’s son because he robbed his friend, Ausencio Acosta. Acosta is also facing capital murder charges in Lopez’s death.
Wheeler was indicted on June 21 on charges of capital murder and engaging in organized criminal activity.
During Friday morning’s hearing, Judge Bobby Galvan told Wheeler if he’s convicted of capital murder, he could face life in prison or the death penalty.
The punishment for engaging in organized criminal activity is 15 to 99 years in prison or life in prison.
After Wheeler was read his charges, he pleaded not guilty to both charges and asked for a jury trial.
Wheeler’s Defense Attorney, Fred Jimenez, also asked that the teen’s $1.25 million bond be lowered.
He asked Wheeler’s mother, Linda Cox, to appear before Judge Galvan. She begged the judge to lower her son’s bond.
Cox said, "That’s my baby. That’s my first born. He knows better".
When Defense Attorney Fred Jimenez asked if she has ever had problems with him, Cox cried and said, "No. He was a typical kid."
After Cox made her tearful plea, Jimenez told Judge Galvan, "A million dollar bond, I understand because of the nature of the offense. That’s fine. I’ll give the state that. But the defendant, it also matters about the defendant. This defendant has no criminal history. He’s 19 years old, graduated from high school, athlete, no problems as a child and I think the bond is excessive."
Judge Galvan said according to a risk assessment in the case, Wheeler had a criminal history as a juvenile.
District Attorney Mark Gonzalez told the judge to consider the severity of the case and said he thought Wheeler was a flight risk.
In the end, Judge Galvan refused to lower Wheeler’s bond.
He then asked Gonzalez whether his office was considering seeking the death penalty in this case. Gonzalez said they haven’t decided yet.