Teen faces capital murder charge in stabbing death at Donna eatery

A former Donna High School freshman accused of stabbing and killing a man during a robbery at a restaurant he frequented was booked into jail last week on charges of capital murder.

Donna resident Pedro Gaspar Rocha, now 17, faces capital murder charges on accusations he broke into Pollos y Costillas Asadas Estilo Veracruz, located in a rural area of Donna, at 3:45 a.m. on Jan. 12 and stabbed 69-year-old Arturo Hermes Hernandez to death and injured an unidentified 21-year-old, leaving the man in critical condition. Both victims worked at the restaurant.

The incident occurred a week before Rocha turned 17 years old.

At the time, Hidalgo County Sheriff J.E. “Eddie” Guerra said Hernandez’s death was his agency’s first homicide investigation of the year and that it’s also the only case since taking office five years ago where a juvenile faced capital murder charges.

Guerra said during a press conference held after the arrest that Rocha, then 16, confessed to the stabbing, which happened after he broke through a window to rob the business. Rocha is accused of stealing an undisclosed amount of money and a large knife he found in the restaurant to stab the victims.

While receiving first aid, the 21-year-old victim identified Rocha to deputies as a frequent patron who lived in the neighborhood, authorities have said. Deputies arrested Rocha on Guadalupe Drive, which is just down the street from the crime scene.

Jail records indicate Rocha does not yet have a bond set.