Abraham Parra's fate was decided by a jury Thursday, made-up of nine women and three men. They convicted Parra of capital murder and aggravated kidnapping in the murder of Brownsville man Reyes Bocanegra, after just two hours of deliberation.
Jurors determined Parra shot Bocanegra once in the back of the head on July 18, 2012. Bocanegra was kidnapped from Mariscos Playa Azul, executed, then left dead inside his own SUV on a road on the outskirts of Brownsville.
Defense Attorney Nat Perez was baffled by the outcome, noting there wasn TMt sufficient evidence presented by the state.
"There's no evidence as to who was in what vehicle; there's no evidence as to what firearm was used; there's no evidence as to who did the shooting, where the shooting occurred - there really is no evidence what-so-ever," Perez said.
As far as Parra TMs reaction to the guilty verdict, Perez said, all I'll say is that Mr. Parra has taken the attitude that he puts it all in God's hands and that whatever is happening today, and whatever happens in the future with his appeal, it's all God's will."
Cameron County District Attorney Luis Saenz said Parra and the other eight suspects involved in the case, who have yet to stand trial, first crossed the line when they entered a restaurant full of innocent bystanders to allegedly kidnap Bocanegra. He said Parra " a hardened criminal who showed no emotion throughout the trial and verdict - is now off the streets.
His stoic reaction goes along with heinous part of the crime, Saenz said. When you go into an establishment and disregard totally the life of innocent people, to carry out your vendetta, that's the hardened criminal he is and that's what he showed here today."
However, it was no easy win for prosecutor Gustavo Garza. On Wednesday, one of the state's key witnesses, a teenager also allegedly involved in the crime, backtracked from his agreement with the state while on the stand and refused to answer questions. Garza says the teen has many of the answers that have yet to be answered in open court. Since the 16-year-old has been certified as an adult for his role in the crime and broke his agreement with the state, he now could face life in prison, without parole if convicted of capital murder.
"You could see that I was surprised and taken back, but thank God we recouped, we recovered, called the other witnesses and circled my wagons, and went forth got the job done," Garza said.
Perez filed an appeal on the case.