Saturday, August 30, 2014
Jury Acquits Texas Dad in Shooting Death of Drunken Driver who Killed his Sons
After being acquitted for murder (right) David Barajas hugs and gets a kiss from his wife (left) Cindy Barajas while addressing the media at the Brazoria County courthouse Wednesday August 27, 2014. David Barajas, 32, was accused of shooting Jose Banda, 20, after he struck his two sons, aged 11 and 12, on a rural Texas road in 2012.
Local news reports
The bereaved father who witnessed the death of his two young children did not murder the drunken driver who killed them, a jury here in Brazoria County decided Wednesday, a coda that ratcheted up the emotions already thought to have peaked when both sides lost loved ones.
The jury acquitted David Barajas, who faced a murder charge in the shooting death of a 20-year-old man, Jose Banda. Banda drove his Chevrolet Malibu into the children while they pushed their father's stalled Ford 250 truck on an unlit road near Alvin to their nearby house. In a fit of retaliatory rage, prosecutors argued, Barajas returned to his home, retrieved a pistol and fired away at Banda's head with revenge.
But prosecutors faced an uphill climb in erasing any reasonable doubt in jurors' minds. Police failed to produce a murder weapon linked to the killing, gunpowder residue tests on Barajas' hands were negative and no witnesses saw anything that transpired on the dark December night. Though Barajas' attorneys could not identify who else could have killed Banda, who had a blood alcohol level twice the legal limit, the lawyers managed to create enough ambiguity that pushed a conviction out of reach.