Update: Jesus Angel Rebollar has been sentenced to two lifetime prison terms, one for each charge.
See below for more on today’s developments.
EDINBURG — A jury found Jesus Angel Rebollar guilty in the deaths of a Rio Grande City man and his 3-year-son who were ruthlessly killed in a shooting on Nov. 6, 2016.
The verdict followed six days of testimony and hours of deliberation on Thursday over whether Rebollar played a role in the deaths of Hector Garcia Jr., 41, and Julian Garcia, 3.
The pair were killed in Garcia’s blue, Chevy truck near the intersection of La Sagunada and Woods Brothers Road in Rio Grande City, Garcia found slouched protectively over his son who was still alive when Starr County sheriff’s deputies arrived on the scene.
The child was later pronounced dead at Starr County Memorial Hospital.
Rebollar’s conviction carries an automatic life sentence.
Testimony during the week-long trial — for which the victims’ family attended every day — was, at times, difficulty to hear as images of the scene and the autopsies were displayed.
As part of their case, the state called an eyewitness who testified to seeing perpetrators riding in a blue, Ford pickup truck.
The eyewitness said he was able to get a clear view of one of the shooters who he described in an interview with investigators as a young man with light skin, clean hair cut, and a small amount of facial hair. He also described the man as wearing a blue and white, plaid shirt which matched the shirt that Rebollar’s then-girlfriend said he was wearing at the time.
In a follow up interview with the investigators from the Texas Rangers, the eyewitness identified Rebollar as the shooter from two photos taken from social media — one being a group photo and, the other, an image of his Facebook profile.
On the last day of testimony, however, the defense called on an expert witness who specialized in legal psychology who expressed serious doubts on the reliability of the eyewitness’ testimony.
In support of that conclusion, the expert witness said investigators didn’t follow best practices when it came to photo lineups, noting that Rebollar was the only individual in the group photo that matched the description that the eyewitness had previously given.
Despite the expert’s doubts, jurors appeared to believe enough in the eyewitness, who appeared confident in his testimony last week, to convict Rebollar of the murders nearly three years after they occurred.