HOUSTON – A 16-year-old girl has been certified to stand trial as an adult for her participation in a series of robberies and the murder of a homeless man in April.
Victoria Correa and three other teens -- Carlos Fernandez, 18; Marilyn Villarreal, 18 and Michael Correa, 17 -- were charged with capital murder in the shooting death of Pedro Miguel Rosales Ramos.
Houston police said the teens robbed and shot Ramos, a 32-year-old homeless man, in a parking lot in the 11700 block of Hempstead Highway on April 4, 2012. They were reportedly cruising the area, looking for prostitutes to rob when they honed in on Ramos.
A witness said he heard Ramos arguing with someone in the parking lot around 10:30 p.m. and, moments later, shots rang out.
Ramos suffered a gunshot wound to the chest and died at the scene.
Investigators said they initially believed the suspects killed Ramos over a bicycle or some chicken, but later determined that the motive was the $1 in cash that Ramos was carrying.
The suspects were identified days later, when police said Victoria Correa and Fernandez -- her boyfriend -- were involved in a home invasion. During that crime, police said Victoria Correa was shot, and Fernandez shot the homeowner. Both the teen and the homeowner survived.
During interrogation, investigators said the other suspects in Ramos’ murder were identified.
Police said Fernandez confessed to shooting Ramos. Victoria Correa reportedly said she fired a weapon that night, too, but no one was hit.
Villarreal confessed to driving the car used in the robbery, and Michael Correa admitted to being armed and taking Ramos’ dollar, police said. Investigators said Villarreal and Michael Correa are in a relationship and have a 1-year-old child together.
Investigators believe the young suspects are responsible for more than a dozen other home invasions and robberies in Harris County.
Police were surprised by their actions. Investigators said the teens, who were all at one point students at Jersey Village High School, came from good families.
Det. Fil Waters described Victoria Correa’s cozy surroundings at the time of her arrest.
"She’s sitting in a queen-size feather bed, watching her 32-inch plasma TV and living in the lap of luxury," Waters said.
Police said none of the suspects has shown remorse.
"There were some tears, but not for Pedro – for themselves," Waters said.
Fernandez, Michael Correa and Villarreal were booked into the Harris County Jail without bond. Victoria Correa was handed over to Harris County Juvenile Probation authorities.
Police said Ramos has sisters in the Midwest, and his parents live in Mexico. All of his family members were said to be emotional, but relieved about the arrests.