Uncle speaks out in defense of accused murderers

"Con castigar estos jovenes el problema no va a terminar ahi."

Jose, uncle of accused murderers, Marcos Antonio Barrientos and Rudy Zuniga Jr., did not want to give his last name, but did speak to Action 4 News to defend his nephews.

They are two of the four men charged with murdering 35-year-old Rose Marie Gonzalez of Harlingen in February of 2009.

If found guilty, both men face life in prison, but Jose feels that punishment is too harsh.

"When the murder happened, my nephews weren't in their right mind, Jose said. Their minds were controlled by drugs - they weren't conscious of what they were doing."

Jose said Gonzalez had no business having three young men and a 14-year-old at her apartment, partying and doing crack cocaine with her.

She opened the door to her problems, Jose said.

The uncle also claims Gonzalez was a known drug user, and was constantly looking for attention.

He said had she not provided the accused murders with drugs, they would've been in their right mind and would be incapable of murder.

"Why was she with young men? Jose said. If she hadn't lost her life that night, she would be the one facing charges for providing drugs to a minor."

Jose said he feels for Gonzalez TMs family, but said putting away four young men for the rest of their lives, for a crime committed under the influence of drugs, would be an even bigger injustice.

Jose even blames drug traffickers for he root of the problem.

"Why not punish those that are trafficking the drugs? Jose said. Why not unite and focus to go after them - they're the ones causing problems for our communities and country."

Jose said his nephews are truly regretful of their roles in the crime, and hopes jurors will give them a lesser punishment than life in prison.