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Posted on: January 12, 2017

1/12/2017 - Life Sentence Handed Down in Murder of Iraq War Veteran

San Antonio, Texas, January 12, 2017: Today, jurors in the 226th District Court sentenced David Alexander Zuniga, age 18, to Life in prison. Yesterday, it took jurors just 15 minutes to find Zuniga guilty in the murder of Jesse Richards.

On December 20, 2015, Zuniga and his brother, Daniel Jeremy Torres Jr., confronted Richards, as Richards got off a bus near the 400 block of Porter Street, on the city’s east side. Richards, an Army Veteran who had completed three tours in Iraq, had just finished his shift at a Southeast side restaurant. Police believe the brothers were attempting to rob Richards, when he was shot. Richards was found lying in the middle of the street near the bus stop. He died from his injuries a short time later. San Antonio police detectives contacted Zuniga several months after the murder after receiving a tip of his possible involvement in the murder. Under questioning, Zuniga admitted to detectives that he shot the gun. The murder weapon was never recovered; however, eleven days following the murder, Zuniga posted a picture of the same caliber weapon used in the killing on his Facebook page.

During the punishment phase, the victim’s family testified of his sacrifice to serve his country and the tremendous loss their family suffered. They asked jurors for a “just sentence.”

“This was an absolute senseless murder that can occur to any individual but it was deeply saddening to hear that the victim was an American hero who survived the battlefield but died on the street,” said District Attorney Nico LaHood. “I am proud of the hard work and dedication of prosecutors Josh Somers, Kaytlyn Knowles and their team to ensure the defendant was held accountable and justice was served.”

Torres, the co-defendant in this case, is also awaiting trial for Richards’ murder out of the 226th District Court. Murder is a first degree felony, punishable by 5-99 years or Life in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. Assistant District Attorneys Joshua Somers and Kaytlyn Knowles from the Criminal Trial Division prosecuted the case against Zuniga in the 226th District Court.

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