Every Once in a While


#1

This case haas been tied up in the courts for 25 years.

The case just came to a conclusion last month.

“Daniel Villegas, now 41, returns to a courtroom for the third time to face murder charges. Some background on his case: the charges Villegas is facing date back to 1993, when Armando “Mando” Lazo and Bobby England were gunned down in El Paso, Texas. Villegas was 16 years old at the time. He then confessed to those shootings, but later claimed he was coerced by an El Paso police officer into a confession. Villegas had a mistrial in 1994 due to a hung jury, then a conviction in his second trial in 1995.”

You can cut right to the chase by skipping ahead to 2:05 for the verdict.

"The timeline for anyone not aware of the case:

April 10, 1993: Armando “Mando” Lazo and Bobby England are killed in a drive-by shooting on Electric Street in Northeast El Paso.
April 21, 1993: David Rangel is arrested in connection with the shooting but denies doing it. He mentions his cousin, Daniel Villegas, bragged about shooting the two teens with a shotgun. Villegas is then arrested in connection with the shooting.
April 22, 1993: After hours of interrogation, Daniel Villegas confesses to the double murder. Hours later he denies it, but the confession is already documented.
Dec. 5, 1994: Daniel Villegas goes on trial for Capital Murder. He is represented by Jaime Olivas while District Attorney Jamie Esparza and Assistant District Attorney John Williams are the prosecutors.
Dec. 12, 1994: Evidence and arguments conclude. Jury begins deliberations.
Dec. 14, 1994: A 11-1 hung jury results in a mistrial.
Aug. 21, 1995: Villegas’ second trial begins. Jaime Esparza is once again the prosecutor, but Villegas is now represented by John Gates.
Aug. 24, 1995: The trial ends and, after hours of deliberation, the jury returns a verdict of guilty and Villegas is sentenced to life in prison.
Sept. 8, 1995: Villegas appeals his conviction.
July 10, 1997: The Eighth Court of Appeals overrules all of Villegas’ appeals and affirms his conviction.
Sept. 17, 1997: Villegas’ conviction is final after the Eight Court of Appeals issues its mandate.
Dec. 23, 2009: Villegas files a writ of habeas corpus, hoping for a reversal based on ineffective counsel during the second trial.
Jan. 25, 2010: The 41st District Court issues that it must be resolved if Villegas had efficient counsel.
Feb. 25, 2010: Judge Mary Anne Bramblett recuses herself from the case. She was the judge in the original case.
March 1, 2010: The case is transferred to the 409th District Court.
June 21 to Oct. 31, 2011: Various evidentiary hearings were held.
Aug. 16, 2012: 409th District Court Judge Sam Medrano, Jr. recommends a new trial.
Dec. 23, 2013: Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed Villegas had inefficient council and overturned the conviction, but did not acquit Villegas, leaving way for a third trial.
Jan. 14, 2014: Daniel Villegas bonds out of jail and goes home for the first time in 18 years.
Dec. 22, 2015: Villegas sues City of El Paso, eight El Paso Police Department officers for wrongful conviction. May 3, 2018: Texas Court of Criminal Appeals rules confession and jailhouse calls cannot be used in trial.
July 3, 2018: A continuance is granted and the trial is delayed because Villegas’ wife is due to have a baby. Oct. 1, 2018: Daniel Villegas goes on trial for Capital Murder for a third time."