A Texas man was found beaten to death. Law enforcement says that the victim’s stepsons are responsible, but what actually happened, and do they deserve a criminal punishment?
Two Travinos, One Quintanilla
On January 20th, a local farmer discovered the body of Gabriel Quintanilla in an open field and reported it to police. Law enforcement arrived on the scene and found that Quintanilla appeared to have been beaten to death.
Upon further investigation, police took Christian Alejandro Travino and Juan Eduardo Melendez into custody as suspects for Quintanilla’s murder. Alejandro and Juan are both 18, and Chrisitan is 17 years old. Quintanilla was Alejandro and Christian’s stepfather and lived with them a short time before the alleged murder.
Reports state that the brothers found Quintanilla sexually abusing their nine-year-old sister and became enraged. They allegedly took Quintanilla out to the field, beat him for abusing their youngest sibling, and left him for dead.
Quintanilla has a history of child sex abuse and was added to the national sex offender registry for the assault of a minor in 2019. He has been on the run from authorities for the past two years and successfully evaded the police until his body was discovered.
So far, Christian and Juan have been charged with capital murder, and all three teenagers have been charged with aggravated assault, family violence, and engaging in organized criminal activity. Police told reporters that Christian and Juan were charged with capital murder because they allegedly kidnapped Quintanilla and drove him to the field where he was found.
Police are not investigating the Travino’s mother at this time.
Most of the time, when a group of teenagers kidnap an adult and beats them to death, it’s handled as a crime, and if the perpetrators are over the age of 17, they may be tried as adults. Capital murder and aggravated assault are felonies and could be punished severely.
In Texas, capital murder is punishable by life in prison or the death penalty. According to the law, offenders who are 17 or older are old enough to qualify for the death penalty. So, not only do the Travinos face life in prison, they could be put on death row in the worst-case scenario.
Do They Deserve It?
The public is torn about what to do with the Travino brothers. Some say that they were justified for killing a sexual predatory and should get a lesser sentence. Others acknowledge the fact that Quintanilla was a convicted criminal in his own right but also believe that murder should not go unpunished. So, who is right?
It’s easy to pick sides during a case like this, but the truth is, the court of public opinion doesn’t have the power to sentence someone for a crime. That responsibility lies with the courts, judge, and jury who will hear the Travino’s case.
The beauty of our criminal justice system is that those accused of a crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. They have the right to an impartial jury and legal counsel and are subject to due process. Each offender gets their day in court and the chance to plead their case.
These benefits are not available to people in most countries, and while our criminal justice system is flawed, it still protects the rights of victims and those accused of a crime. For the Travinos, a criminal trial is an opportunity.
Not only can their attorney build a strong case on their behalf, but they also have the option to go on the stand and provide their own account. The jury will decide whether their testimonies are compelling, and the judge will issue a sentence based on their best judgment.
Whether you agree with the brothers or not, the legal process gives them a chance for freedom and the opportunity to shed light on their situation. The Travinos will not be silenced – they have already captured national attention and will be able to plead their case.
If you have been accused of a crime, you deserve legal representation. The Law Office of Shane Phelps, P.C. has over two decades of experience helping our clients navigate the legal system. Contact our firm for more information.