PHARR, Texas – A petition addressed to Gov. Greg Abbott to release a teenage trio accused of murdering 42-year-old Gabriel Quintanilla is quickly gaining momentum online.
The petition on Change.org has more than 180,000 signatures and is close to becoming one of the most-signed petitions on the website.
Brothers Alejandro Trevino, 18, and Christian Trevino, 17, along with family friend Juan Eduardo Melendez, 18, are named in the petition. Their story has gained national attention after they were accused of killing Quintanilla and leaving him to die in a field in McAllen.
According to KRGV, police reported that a minor, later identified as Quintanilla’s daughter, made an outcry about being inappropriately touched by Quintanilla at an RV park.
Quintanilla is Alejandro and Christian’s stepfather. The brothers have different fathers but they are both half-siblings of the 9-year-old girl that Quintanilla is accused of abusing.
“When brothers (Alejandro) and Christian Trevino found out, they became enraged and confronted Gabriel Quintanilla at the residence. A physical fight ensued between the three,” according to a news release from Pharr Police Department.
Multiple reports state that the Trevino brothers and Melendez are accused of physically assaulting Quintanilla at least three times before placing him in the bed of a truck and dumping him in a field.
Hidalgo County records show Melendez is charged with engaging in organized criminal activity, murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and possession of marijuana.
Christian Trevino is charged with aggravated assault, murder and engaging in organized criminal activity and Alejandro Trevino is charged with engaging in organized criminal activity and aggravated assault.
Quintanilla had a warrant for continuous sexual abuse of a child and assault family violence at the time of his death, according to police.
Each teen is being held on at least a $1 million bond in Hidalgo County.