In December of 2012, David Barajas of Alvin, Texas and his two sons, twelve-year-old David Jr. and eleven-year-old Caleb, were pushing Barajas’s Ford F-250 on the side of the road because it had run out of gas when drunk driver, twenty-year-old Jose Banda, lost control of his vehicle and plowed into Barajas and his sons. Both of Barajas’s sons were killed as a result of the collision.
It was then that prosecutors argued that Barajas went to his house which was about 100 yards from the crash site, grabbed a gun, returned to the scene of the collision and fatally shot Banda.
While the gun was never found, prosecutors introduced investigator testimony that a bullet fragment found in Banda’s car could have come from a .357 caliber gun. Ammunition for a .357 gun was found in Barajas’s home. Blood found on Banda’s car was consistent with Barajas’s blood.
Barajas’s defense attorney, Sam Cammack argued that Barajas did not kill Banda and that there was little physical evidence actually linking Barajas to the killing. There were no witnesses who could identify Barajas as the shooter. Gunshot residue on Barajas was tested and came back negative.
During closing arguments, Cammack argued that the bullet fragment found in Banda’s vehicle could have come from a gun other than a .357 caliber gun. He also argued that the blood found in Banda’s vehicle was present because Banda’s cousin and half-brother attacked Barajas at the scene and suggested that it was possible that they were the ones who shot Banda.
Banda’s cousin and half-brother testified that they were present at the scene but fled before law enforcement arrived and that they did not shoot Banda.
Cammack also argued that it was impossible for Barajas to have enough time to shoot Banda based on a timeline created through 911 calls.
On Wednesday, jurors acquitted Barajas who faced a life sentence.
“I thank God. This has been hard on me and my family,” Barajas told the press following the verdict. “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.”
Barajas went on to say that he bore no ill-will toward Banda’s family and was praying that the police find his killer. “They lost a son, too. This was a loss for everybody,” he said. “This wasn’t a winning situation for none of us.”
Prosecutors said, while they disagreed with the verdict, they respected it. “We believe that Mr. Barajas committed this crime,” Brazoria County District Attorney Jeri Yenne told reporters. “What the state’s perspective is and will always be is that if you or I or anyone we know had a horrible collision and killed another human being, that you get the fair review of the criminal justice system, not a roadside execution.”