A Texas jury voted to acquit a man accused of murdering the drunken driver who killed his children after plowing into his car on a dark country road.
At the time of the incident, which occurred in December of 2012, David Barajas of Alvin, Texas had run out of gas. His two preteen sons were pushing the vehicle to their nearby home when 20-year-old Jose Banda rammed into the back of the vehicle, killing both boys.
Banda’s body was discovered the following day laying across the front seat of his Chevrolet Malibu, dead from a single gunshot to the head. His blood alcohol content was more than twice the legal limit.
Prosecutors insisted that Barajas, who was steering his truck at the time of the accident, walked the short distance to his home to retrieve a .357-caliber pistol, returning to the accident to kill Banda. However, they could produce only circumstantial evidence to implicate Barajas, and the jury voted unanimously in favor of a not guilty verdict.
When the verdict was read, the courtroom erupted in cheers, claps and even cries of “Thank you, Jesus.” Barajas had been facing life in prison, but the verdict found him crying tears of relief.
“I thank God. This has been hard on me and my family. A lot of weight’s been lifted off my back,” he said outside the courtroom. “I’m hurt about it. It hurt me from the beginning, on top of the hurt that I was already feeling because of my sons.”
He was still bitter about the loss of son David Jr., 12, and Caleb, 11. But he said he held no animosity towards Banda’s family, saying he hoped they would find the killer.
For a more in depth analysis of the controversial trial, visit USA Today.