The Jose E Reyes trial gets underway as prosecutors being opening statements of the 18-year-old’s trial on charges of capital murder.
Prosecutors said the victim’s eye was gouged out as while she was alive and begging for her as Reyes just stood watching, according to The Inquisitr. Reyes is accused of kidnapping, sexually assaulting and killing 15-year-old Corriann Cervantes earlier this year. Assistant Harris County District Attorney John Jordan told jurors that the defendant and a friend were part of an occult in a bid to sell their souls to the devil.
“Whether or not the devil was involved, what happened in that apartment was sadistic and inhumane. He said he had no regrets.”
Jordan told jurors in Reyes trial that Cervantes and two other teens went to a vacant apartment to have sex. It happened after a late night of alcohol and marijuana at a friend’s apartment. In horrific and grisly detail, Jordan said the scene descended from consensual sex to a brutal beating with the heavy porcelain lid of a toilet tank.
“There were pieces of porcelain embedded in her face. He said the teens then used a screwdriver to stab the girl in the face and torso dozens of times. The two also used a plastic rod used for adjusting window blinds to gouge out the girl’s eyes. They also sexually assaulted her.”
Cervantes’ partially clothed body was found in a vacant Clear Lake area apartment on Feb. 8. In the courtroom, members of her family quietly sobbed as Jordan described the slaying during the Jose E Reyes trial, which took place four days earlier, according to The National Ledger. The night of the incident, Reyes said he sold his soul to the devil, and convinced his friend, Victor Alas, to strangle Cervantes with a belt so he, too, could sell his soul, investigators said.
Reyes’ attorney, Bob Loper, agreed that the details of the slaying were “horrible” but asked jurors to remember that their task is to decide if it was a capital murder and who, of the two teens, is responsible.
“This was a horrible murder of a young girl and we’re not going to shy away from that. You’ve got to ferret out for yourselves exactly what happened and who is responsible for which parts.”
Jose E Reyes, wearing a white dress shirt, black glasses and sporting a small black goatee the color of his close cropped haircut, faces an automatic sentence of life in prison if convicted of capital murder. He would not be eligible for parole for 40 years. If convicted of murder, the jury would determine punishment. If they sentenced him to life, he would be eligible for parole in 30 years.
The trial, in state District Judge Brock Thomas’ court, is expected to last a week. Days after the teen was found, the trail led investigators to Reyes and Alas, who was also charged with capital murder. Alas was 16 at the time of the slaying and was later certified to stand trial as an adult.
At the certification hearing, Houston police officers said Reyes told them the trio had sex before he and Alas attacked the girl who tried to run. She screamed “Why are you doing this to me?” as the attacks grew more brutal, Reyes told police.
Cervantes, who hoped to become a nurse, had attended Clear Lake High School, then Clear Lake Alternative Path with the two teens accused of killing her. The three had known each other since middle school, friends said after her death.
In court proceedings earlier this year before the Jose E Reyes trial, prosecutor Martina Longoria called the slaying the “most heinous, violent, and intimate kind of offense a person can commit.” To secure a capital murder conviction for Reyes, prosecutors have to prove that he either kidnapped or sexually assaulted Cervantes and intentionally killed her. Although he faces an automatic life sentence if convicted, he would be eligible for parole after 40 years, because he was 17 at the time of the offense.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that only adults can be sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.
As the case unfolds from the trial in state District Judge Brock Thomas’ court, one of the people watching will be Mario Madrid, the attorney for Alas.
“It gives us an opportunity to see the (prosecutors’) hand. My client maintains his innocence, and we intend on trying the case when it’s time.”
Homicide investigators said the victim’s body was found by a neighbor. Cervantes was “partially clothed, had severe head trauma, and appeared to have been sexually assaulted,” according to a news release from the Houston Police Department. Police said “evidence indicating occult activity was found in the apartment and on her body,” including an upside-down cross carved into the teen’s stomach. Arresting officers with the Webster Police Department said Jose E Reyes confessed the murder to a family member prior to his arrest.
As the Jose E Reyes trial gets underway, more details have emerged about the Corriann Cervantes murder, notes CP24. Reyes and a teenage friend allegedly killed the victim by bashing her head repeatedly with a toilet tank lid. Cervantes disappeared Feb. 5, and was found in a vacant apartment three days later.