A 30-year-old man from Texas shot his roommate multiple times in the skull and beheaded him before turning the gun on the victim’s terrified girlfriend.
The court heard on October 29 how Hector ‘Cholo’ Acosta-Ojeda allegedly fired two shots on 26-year-old Erick Zelaya’s head in September 2017, as the latter slept at home. After that, the accused executed Iris Chirinos, 17, as she tried to run from the scene.
The killings seemed to be Acosta-Ojeda’s way of exacting revenge on Zelaya who was involved in a separate shooting that took place in May the same year at the accused’s old house in Arlington. As he and the others were sleeping inside the house, two gunmen opened fire into the home. It was unclear if anyone was injured in that shooting, Daily Mail reported.
Soon after the shooting took place, Zelaya and his girlfriend showed up at Acosta-Ojeda’s house and started laughing. His house was burned down soon after.
As a result, the accused shacked up with Zelaya for a greater part of the summer that year, even as he began hearing rumors that his roommate was the one who shot at his house. After the idea that “ate away at him” Acosta-Ojeda confronted Zelaya about the shooting. Hours after he admitted to being involved, both Zelaya and Chirinos were killed.
Acosta-Ojeda then decided to bury their bodies and to do that, he dug a shallow grave in their backyard. Before burying Zelaya, he cut off his head and put it in a trash bag, Star-Telegram reported.
Tarrant County Assistant District Attorney Kevin Rousseau told the jury that Acosta then “made a sign… then grabbed the bag and sign, got on a bicycle and rode to a location near where his home had been burned down.”
Zelaya’s severed head was discovered by the authorities on September 2, 2017, near a man-made walking trail not far from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, which prompted the start of the investigation against Acosta-Ojeda. Along with the head, the police discovered a sign that read, “La Raza Se Resreta y Faltan 4,” a phrase in Spanish which loosely translates to, “The race, or group, must be respected and there’s only four left.”
After executing a search warrant at Zelaya’s place, the authorities discovered a machete, evidence of blood and the area in the backyard being disturbed. After uncovering a human leg and foot believed to be Zelaya’s during their search, the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office eventually found the remainder of Zelaya’s body and that of his girlfriend.
Acosta-Ojeda was charged with capital murder as well as the robbery and killing of Triston Ray Algiene in July 2017 in Fort Worth. Prosecutors will seek the death penalty if he is convicted of the crimes.