Teen arrested for same crime a week after having 2 capital murder charges dismissed

Kristian Ray Belmudez charged in shooting deaths of Gabriel Sanchez, Sanaa Keilani McNeil

SAN ANTONIO – A 19-year-old man who had two capital murder charges dismissed last week has been arrested again for the same crime.

Kristian Ray Belmudez was rearrested Wednesday for the Jan. 16 shooting deaths of Gabriel A. Sanchez, 19, and Sanaa Keilani McNeil, 19, just one week after he was released from jail due to a lack of evidence in the case.

The only new evidence police presented to Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales’s office was an interview where Belmudez admitted to being the person seen with the victims on QuikTrip surveillance video footage the night of the shooting.

Sanchez and McNeil, who were in a dating relationship, were found dead on Jan. 17 at a Travelodge in the 3800 block of Interstate 35 North by a housekeeper. Bexar County Medical Examiners determined the victims died from multiple gunshot wounds.

Belmudez was initially arrested and charged with the capital murder of multiple persons on March 10, however, the charges were dismissed last week and the case was closed on June 7. Belmudez was released from Bexar County Jail on June 8.

Officials with Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales’s office told KSAT 12 that the charges were dismissed because there was insufficient evidence and the case needed further investigation, despite video allegedly showing Belmudez with a gun in each hand leaving the hotel room where the victims were found.

The dismissal, which court records show has been sealed, was received by the courts Wednesday, the same day Belmudez was rearrested.

Belmudez’s arrest warrant affidavit states that the teen was seen on surveillance video walking with Sanchez from the Travelodge parking lot to the room Sanchez was staying in with McNeil just after midnight on Jan. 16.

The three were then seen leaving the hotel around 1:15 a.m.

Police said a witness called several days after the fatal shooting to say he met up with Sanchez at a QuikTrip store in the 2700 block of NE Loop 410 the night of the shooting to buy drugs.

Surveillance cameras from the QuikTrip store showed the victims pull up to the gas station around 1:30 a.m. with a third person identified as Belmudez clearly visible in the back seat.

Belmudez is wearing the same clothes at the QuikTrip store that he is seen wearing in the surveillance video at the Travelodge, investigators said in the affidavit.

Belmudez admitted to police during an interview on Tuesday that he was the one in the QuikTrip video with the victims.

The trio was seen again on Travelodge cameras around 2:15 a.m.

Around 3:40 a.m., Belmudez can be seen running out of the Travelodge wearing the same clothes he had on at QuikTrip. An affidavit states that he had a gun in each hand, which he then put in the pockets of a large white Nike coat he was wearing.

As of the time of publishing, Belmudez was still being booked into the Bexar County Jail, so information about his bond amount and his new mugshot were not yet available.

DA Gonzales issued the following statement on Wednesday evening:

“Further investigation by the San Antonio Police Department has resulted in the re-arrest of Kristian Ray Belmudez, 19, who had previously been charged with capital murder in the deaths of two other 19 year-old San Antonio residents. We express our thanks to the San Antonio Police Department for their continued dedication to this case.

“In accordance with the law, our office will now revisit the capital murder charges against Mr. Belmudez in light of additional details and evidence obtained by SAPD. Upon indictment, our office must then have enough evidence to convict Mr. Belmudez beyond a reasonable doubt.

“The Bexar County Criminal District Attorney’s Office remains committed to ensuring a fair and just legal process for all parties involved. As legal process involving Kristian Ray Belmudez continues, we will work diligently to uphold the principles of justice, maintain the integrity of our criminal justice system, and protect the rights of victims of crime.”

Editor’s note: The video attached to this article is from a previous report.

About the Authors

Emmy-award winning reporter Dillon Collier joined KSAT Investigates in September 2016. Dillon's investigative stories air weeknights on the Nightbeat and on the Six O'Clock News. Dillon is a two-time Houston Press Club Journalist of the Year and a Texas Associated Press Broadcasters Reporter of the Year.

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