EL PASO, Texas (AP) — A West Texas man convicted of killing two people as a teenager in 1993 may be released on bond after the state ordered he should have a new trial.
Joe Spencer, the attorney for Daniel Villegas, said he will request bond for his client at a hearing Tuesday in El Paso. Spencer said he expects Villegas to be released because he was out on bond before his second trial and did not violate any terms of his bond during that time.
Villegas was sentenced in 1995 to life in prison for killing teens Armando Lazo and Robert England during a drive-by shooting in northeast El Paso. Last year, judge Sam Medrano Jr. recommended that there should be a new trial after a series of hearings in which Villegas' then trial lawyer admitted he did not have enough time to prepare.
On Monday, the district attorney's office declined to comment on the case. A state administrative judge denied earlier this month a request by the District Attorney to recuse Medrano Jr. arguing that the judge was biased in favor of Villegas.
The El Paso Times reports Villegas' first trial in 1993 resulted in a hung jury after his attorney called 18 witnesses. His attorney in the second trial called one.
Villegas has claimed he confessed to the crime after an El Paso Police Department detective told him he would be raped in prison and face the death penalty.
Medrano Jr.'s recommendation was sent to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, and it ruled in December he should be granted a new trial because the defense was ineffective for not presenting evidence of possible alternative perpetrators and for not discovering and presenting evidence.
The court, however, added that Villegas has not shown new facts to prove he is innocent.