A jury in Southeast Texas yesterday declared that a bereaved father accused of shooting and killing the drunken driver who crashed into his two children was not guilty of murder, according to news reports.
The AP reports that David Barajas and his 12-year-old and 11-year-old sons David Jr. and Caleb were pushing his truck down a rural road about 100 yards from their home in Alvin back in 2012 because it had run out of gas.
That's when 20-year-old Jose Banda drunkenly crashed his Chevrolet Malibu into the truck, killing both boys, authorities said. Prosecutors claimed Barajas then went home, got his handgun, and shot Banda to death "in a fit of rage."
But besides the obvious sympathy a jury would have for a father who just watched his sons die at the hands of a drunk driver, prosecutors had other problems. They included the fact that the gun used to kill Banda was never found, and that there was little physical evidence actually linking 32-year-old Barajas to the shooting.
Investigators said the bullets that killed Banda could have come from a .357-caliber gun, ammunition of which was found in Barajas' home, but other than that prosecutors didn't have much.
Still, the whole case is just an unbelievably tragic event for everyone involved. From the AP's report:
"Three sons were lost that day. The state has compassion for every single one of them, the Barajas children and the Banda son," [Brazoria County District Attorney Jeri] Yenne said.
Barajas said he is hoping to move forward and get closure with regard to his sons' deaths. But he also said that he is praying for Banda's family.
"They lost a son, too," Barajas said.
Photo credit AP