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  • And the plot thickens....

    John Quintanilla, Jr.—Latino, age 25
    Sentenced to death in Victoria County, Texas
    By: A jury
    Date of crime: 11/24/02

    Prosecution’s case/defense response: Quintanilla and another masked gunman robbed a small gambling parlor. One of the patrons, Victor Billings, approached Quintanilla, apparently to protect his wife Linda. Billings grabbed the barrel of the Quintanilla’s rifle. Quintanilla shot him three times, and fired at least three other shots, as well, injuring a couple of other patrons. Quintanilla was linked to a series of other armed robberies in the area in the same time span. Quintanilla had a substantial criminal record. While in jail awaiting trial on this charge, he made two “shanks” (knives) and attacked a guard in an escape attempt. Quintanilla confessed to the murder of Billings, but the defense tried to plant doubt that he was really the robber, suggesting that he was taking the blame for the husband of a relative. At the penalty phase, Quintanilla refused to permit his lawyers to present any evidence.

    March 25, 2013 at 3:47 p.m.
  • Maybe a refresher course is in order.

    The prosecution spoke of a "moment of truth" in which a robber became a
    murderer while a defense attorney said it has yet to be proven beyond a
    reasonable doubt that his client fired the fatal shots as lawyers squared
    off in the opening arguments of the capital murder trial of John
    Quintanilla Jr. on Tuesday in Victoria.

    Quintanilla, 27, is charged with the Nov. 24, 2002, shooting death of
    60-year-old Victor Billings, a former Jackson County deputy and Edna
    resident, during the robbery of Action Amusement Center at 3805 N. John
    Stockbauer Drive in Victoria. District Attorney Dexter Eaves is seeking
    the death penalty.

    "That moment of truth is when everything somebody believes in crystallizes
    and they realize that it is not going according to plan," Eaves told the
    jury of 5 women and 7 men.

    Quintanilla and his partner had a plan for the robbery at the amusement
    center, Eaves said. "His intent was to go in, steal money, rob them and
    leave."

    It was while one of the men was inside the office and Quintanilla was
    standing in the customer area of the business that Billings approached
    Quintanilla, Eaves said. "Right next to where the clerk was being robbed
    was (Billings') wife."

    Billings grabbed the barrel of the rifle and pulled the muzzle against his
    chest "so that no one else would be shot," Eaves said.

    Quintanilla fired the 9mm carbine rifle 3 times, he said.

    Eaves said it was during that second before the sound of the 1st bullet
    echoed through the building that Quintanilla had his moment of truth.

    "What are you willing to live for and what are you willing to die for?"
    Eaves said. "I believe the evidence will show you that John Quintanilla
    for $2,000 was willing to take anybody's life....

    Eaves added that right after shooting Billings, Quintanilla noticed two
    other customers trying to leave through the front door. "He aims and fires
    at the doorway, head high," Eaves said.

    "While Victor Billings was laying on his face trying to get his last
    breath, police were outside trying to secure the scene so that EMS did not
    get shot," said Eaves.

    March 25, 2013 at 3:40 p.m.
  • Jennifer, are you kidding? No one confesses to a murder they didn't commit. Police do not threaten to kill a family member. People have lawyers for that kind of thing. There were eye witnesses and I'm betting that you weren't one of them, right?
    More than likely you were told a bunch of bull and were ignorant enough to believe it.

    March 25, 2013 at 3:32 p.m.