HOUSTON (AP) — A jury has convicted a Houston-area teenager of capital murder for a girl’s slaying that prosecutors said was part of a satanic ritual.
Jurors found 18-year-old Jose E. Reyes guilty on Thursday in the February death of 15-year-old Corriann Cervantes in a vacant apartment southeast of Houston.
Reyes will receive an automatic life sentence.
The Houston Chronicle reports that during closing arguments, prosecutor Martina Longoria told jurors Reyes committed “so many horrible, heinous and inhumane things.”
Reyes’ attorneys had sought a lesser sentence and argued their client may be guilty of murder, but not capital murder.
Jurors during the four-day trial saw graphic photos of injuries, including an upside down cross carved on Cervantes’ stomach.
A case is pending against a juvenile who prosecutors say assisted Reyes in the killing. The boy, 16 when the killing occurred, is charged with capital murder.
Authorities have said the pair was hoping to make a deal with the devil by killing Cervantes. They say the teens brought Cervantes to the apartment where they had consensual sex, but then matters spiraled out of control. The girl was struck with an ashtray, a toilet tank lid and a window blind rod, before being strangled and stabbed in the face with a screwdriver, authorities have said.
Harris County prosecutor John Jordan has said that at one point during the assault, Cervantes yelled out, “Why are you doing this to me?”