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Prostitute testifies in kidnapping case

Vanessa Luna says man on trial assaulted, kidnapped her 'client'

SAN ANTONIO – An admitted prostitute told the jury how a sex-for-cash rendezvous at a Corpus Christi motel took a violent turn in July 2014.

Testifying in the trial of Juan “Popeye” Lachel, Vanessa Luna said she met a Odie Reyes at the motel after he answered her online ad for sex.

Inside the motel room, she said she changed her mind.

“I tell him ‘No.' I don’t want to sleep with him, “ Luna testified. “And he tries to force it.”

She said Lachel, who was hiding in the motel room bathroom, bolted into the room and began to attack Reyes.

“He gets him off of me, punches him and gets him in a headlock, and it’s like wrestling between both of them,” she said.

She said Lachel grabbed a hot iron during the fight.

“It was turned on and he pressed it to his (Reyes’) face,” Luna said.

Beaten up, his face burned and his hands and feet bound, Luna and Lachel began to drive Reyes to San Antonio.

Lachel and Luna testified that they began to talk about killing Reyes.

“He pretty much said that he knew of a location where (Lachel) could dump his body,” Luna said.

Instead, they took Reyes to a San Antonio motel, where they forced him to raise the credit line on his bank card. Luna said she then drove Reyes to two ATMs, where he withdrew $800. Reyes was moved to another location and later escaped.

Luna testified as part of a plea bargain. In exchange for her testimony against Lachel, her sentence will not exceed 15 years in prison.

If he is convicted, Lachel faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Prosecutors rested their case after Luna’s testimony on Thursday. The trial before Senior District Court Judge Pat Priest will continue Friday with defense testimony.


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