Gunman accused of killing five neighbors, including a 9-year-old boy, when asked to stop shooting in a Texas backyard could face the DEATH PENALTY after being charged with capital murder
- Francisco Oropesa, 38, was arrested on May 2 and has been in jail for more than two months
- He now faces a capital murder charge, allowing Texas to seek the death penalty.
- District Attorney Todd Dillon has not yet determined if his office will do that.
The undocumented gunman accused of killing five neighbors, including a 9-year-old boy, in San Jacinto County could face the death penalty after a grand jury indicted him for capital murder on Friday.
Francisco Oropesa, 38, was arrested on May 2. The Mexican national has been behind bars for approximately two months with bail set at $7.5 million.
He’s already been charged with five counts of first-degree murder, one count for each victim he’s accused of fatally shooting during a mass shooting on his block.
The murders were allegedly the result of an escalating dispute between neighbors after the defendant’s dog killed some of the family’s sheep and chickens. Houston Chronicle reports.
Friday’s capital murder indictment allows prosecutors to seek the death penalty in the case, District Attorney Todd Dillon has yet to determine if his office will.
Francisco Oropesa, 38, was arrested on May 2. He has been behind bars for approximately two months with bail set at $7.5 million.
“We have not decided whether to seek the death penalty because the defense has not had an opportunity to present any mitigating evidence for the state to consider,” Dillon said. CNN.
“We’ll make sure we give them a chance to do that before we make that decision.”
Oropesa’s attorney, Anthony Osso, said in May that he hoped the district attorney’s office would upgrade the charges to capital murder.
After that of Oropesa there were two other arrests. Divina Lamar Nava – Oropesa’s common-law partner – was accused of hindering the apprehension of a criminal, and according to the Prosecutor’s Office, she was at the scene when Oropesa was arrested and is accused of helping him.
One of the suspect’s friends, Domingo Castilla, was also arrested on a marijuana possession charge. He is also suspected of helping the suspected shooter flee the neighborhood.
Initial reports that followed the nightly shooting painted a picture of Oropesa’s neighbors, a family of ten who lived together, asking him to stop firing his gun because they were trying to put a baby to sleep.
Oropesa, known for frequently firing his gun in his yard, replied ‘I’ll do whatever I want in my front yard’ and shot five family members with an AR-15 before fleeing.
When police arrived at the scene, they found two adult women dead in the front of the house and a man dead in the living room.
Law enforcement authorities removing bodies from a scene where five people were shot the night before Saturday April 29, 2023
Daniel Enrique Laso Guzmán, nine years old, was the youngest victim of Oropesa
The suspected shooter was flanked by armed law enforcement officers as he entered the courthouse Thursday morning.
Two of Oropesa’s victims, who lived in the house next door to his
Sonia Guzmán and Daniel Enrique Lazo were two other victims of Oropesa. Daniel was only nine years old when he was killed.
Diana Velásquez was another of Oropesa’s victims. All the victims were said to be from Honduras and there were ten to a house.
Oropesa was said to have been drunk at the time of the shooting.
Two other arrests were made after Oropesa, his common-law partner and his friend, are both believed to have tried to help him flee.
The two women were covered in blood, according to San Jacinto County Sheriff Greg Capers, and lay on top of two small children who survived.
All the victims were from Honduras, according to police.
Oropesa was said to be drunk at the time.
Reports indicate that the alleged gunman had been deported from the United States four times in the past 14 years.