Tentative date set for Villegas retrial

KDBC
Tuesday, January 21, 2014 - 12:35pm

It was a bittersweet day for Daniel Villegas and his family. On Tuesday morning Judge Sam Medrano set a court date behind closed doors but it wasn't what his family and supporters were expecting.

The former convicted murdered was released on bond last week after the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that Villegas should get a new trial. His supporters were hoping the District Attorney would discard today taking a legal battle.

"We were hoping it wouldn't come to this but i mean we're ready but this is not what we wanted." Supporter John Mimbela said.

Villegas who was in prison for almost two decades left the court room and made no comment after attorney Joe Spencer recommended not to. His lawyer said they’re ready to stand on trial.

"I find it improbable that it would be retried due to the lack of evidence they have but that's a decision for the district attorney," Spencer said.

We contacted District Attorney Jaime Esparza's office for comment but his spokesperson said no statement would be given because the case is still pending.

"I guess my preference would be that he'd render and he could speak publicly about it after he's had a opportunity to review the case and get debrief by all his lawyers," Esparza said.

Even though there still might be a fight ahead his supporters said they won't give up and are confident Daniel was not the man who murdered two teens in Northeast El Paso back in 1993.

"We’re confident that if it does, there's just no way that Daniel would be convicted I mean there never was anything and there's still isn't anything pointing to Daniel committing this crime."

The next final hearing to decide if the District Attorney will follow with a trial will be on February 28th while the trial date was set for May 28th.

ORIGINAL STORY: Andra Litton

Daniel Villegas was released on bond last Tuesday, January 14, and today he was back in court for a status hearing.

The El Paso District Attorney still has not decided how to proceed in Villegas' re-trial, but a tentative trial date has been set for May 28, 2014. The court will hold a status hearing on February 28.

Villegas was convicted of killing two men in a drive-by shooting in 1993 when Villegas was only 16-years-old. He was sentenced to life in prison, however, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that Villegas had improper representation at the trial and he was granted a new trial.

Many of Villegas' supporters believe that his confession by an El Paso Police Detective was coerced. If District Attorney Jaime Esparza decides not to retry the case, the May court date will be canceled.

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