A jury in Texas took three hours to determined that there was no evidence proving David Barajas had shot and killed Jose Banda–the underage drunk driver who took the lives of Barajas’s two young sons.
Banda, 20, had engaged in illegal consumption of alcohol (minimum age is 21 in Texas), exceeded the legal blood alcohol limit for driving a vehicle, then plowed into two youngsters helping their father push their broken down car, killing them.
According to Chron, “The inebriated driver failed to serve or even apply his brakes before plowing into the truck and crushing Barajas’ sons, David Jr., 12, and Caleb, 11. Of all of that there was a mountain of evidence.
So, why was the father charged in the first place? Timing.
Several minutes after the crash, 911 operators began receiving phone calls about the accident and recorded a sound of gunfire. Investigators arrived at the scene to find Banda slumped in the front seat of his car with a bullet wound to his head. He never regained consciousness.
Fortunately for Barajas, lack of evidence convinced the jury to acquit the grieving father.
This update from NBC News, Aug 27:
A Texas father was found not guilty Wednesday of gunning down the man who killed his young sons in a drunken-driving accident. It took the jury three hours to acquit David Barajas, who was charged in the shooting death of 20-year-old Jose Banda Jr. in December 2012. “I thank God. This has been hard on me and my family,” Barajas told reporters. “It’s been a lot of weight lifted but I’m still very hurt.”
An intoxicated Banda struck Barajas and his two children while they pushed the family’s disabled truck down a road, just 50 yards away from their home in Alvin, south of Houston. Barajas’ children — David, 12, and Caleb, 11 — were killed. Amid the chaos, authorities charged, Barajas went home, retrieved a gun and went back to the wreckage to shoot Banda in the head.
But investigators never recovered a gun and didn’t have an eyewitness to the shooting.
Barajas’ attorney, Sam Cammack, said his client’s only focus the night of the crash was trying to save his sons’ lives and that someone else killed Banda.
The prosecutor Jeri Yenne said she had no regrets about bringing charges. “We believe that Mr. Barajas committed the crime and we also know the jury did not believe that beyond a reasonable doubt. We respect that,” she said.
Phone calls to 911 reporting the accident and then the sound of gunshot were made within about two minutes of each other. The Barajas home was some 150 – 200 yards away. To run over there, grab a gun, shoot someone with it, dispose of all of the evidence and return to giving CPR to your son would take much longer than two minutes.
Perhaps Banda had lost control of his vehicle because he was shot in the head, in addition to being drunk out of his mind.
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