Man accused of murder found guilty after 15-minute deliberation

David Zuniga testifies that his brother is killer

SAN ANTONIO – The murder trial of David Zuniga, 18, took an unexpected turn Wednesday when Zuniga’s brother, Juan Torres, 19, testified that their oldest brother, Daniel Torres, 21, killed Army veteran Jesse Richards, 26.

The jury deliberated for 15 minutes and found David Zuniga guilty of murder Wednesday afternoon. 

Richards was shot to death on the night of Dec. 20, 2015, after stepping out of a VIA bus at North New Braunfels and Porter Street.

Prosecutors told the jury that Zuniga and Daniel Torres planned to rob Richards.

Torres testified that he watched from a distance as his brothers confronted Richards.

“Daniel came from the gateway, where I can’t see, and he runs and pulls, pulls it from his jacket and fires,” Torres testified.

Zuniga’s lawyers called him to testify. He explained why he gave police a recorded statement, which was played for the jury on Tuesday, saying that he killed Richards.

“The reason I told them that I was the shooter was because Daniel had threatened me the day after the murder,” Zuniga testified.

Zuniga said Daniel Torres threatened him several more times, including sending him a letter while he was in jail threatening to tell police that Zuniga was the shooter.

Zuniga echoed Juan Torres’ testimony that they feared their older brother.

“He likes to do bad things and harm people,” Juan Torres testified.

Daniel Torres has also been charged with Richards’ murder and is awaiting trial. Both men are criminally responsible for the murder, according to the law of parties, prosecutors said.

They face a maximum punishment of life in prison. Zuniga's sentencing phase is set for Friday.

About the Author

Paul Venema is a courthouse reporter for KSAT with more than 25 years experience in the role.

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