Prosecutor: Dad ‘executed’ the drunk driver who killed his sons 11 & 12 yrs in a tragic crash.
A drunk driver did not deserve ‘execution’ by a Texas father accused of taking the law into his own hands in a fit of rage over the killing of his two sons in a wreck, a prosecutor told jurors on Tuesday
David Barajas is accused of fatally shooting Jose Banda in December 2012, minutes after Banda plowed into a pickup truck that Barajas and his two sons had been pushing on a rural road. Twelve-year-old David Jr. died at the scene and 11-year-old Caleb died at a hospital. Barajas’ truck had run out of gas about 100 yards from the family’s home.
In opening statements Tuesday in Barajas’ murder trial, prosecutor Brian Hrach told jurors Banda made a horrible decision by drinking and driving, Banda ‘deserved punishment. He deserved severe legal punishment, but he did not deserve a public execution,’ Hrach said. Barajas allegedly left the scene of the accident, retrieved a gun from his home and returned to kill Banda.
Sam Cammack, Barajas’ attorney, told jurors his client did not kill Banda, and that the father never left the crash site. Cammack described to jurors an accident scene in which Barajas, desperate to help his sons, was covered with their blood after he had tried to perform CPR on the boys.
‘When police get there my client is doing what he was doing the whole time, trying to save his children’s lives,’ Cammack said. Legal experts said the case will be difficult to prosecute given the lack of hard evidence: no weapon was recovered, no witnesses identified Barajas as the shooter and gunshot residue tests done on Barajas came back negative. An even greater challenge for prosecutors could be overcoming sympathy in the community for the father. Many people in the town of Alvin where the tragedy occurred, 30 miles southeast of Houston, have supported Barajas. Some have said they might have done the same thing in a similar situation.
When 911 calls were played for jurors later Tuesday, Cammack tried to suggest Barajas would not have had enough time to shoot Banda. On the calls, screaming can be heard in the background as an unidentified caller told a dispatcher a boy is ‘bleeding badly … he’s in half. It’s bad.’
If convicted, Barajas faces up to life in prison.
This is a tragedy all around. If this father killed the man who murdered his children did shoot the driver, it was most definitely a crime of passion.