Remembering Daniel Villegas’ Unfair 25-Year Imprisonment

Daniel Villegas is a 44-year-old man who was wrongfully convicted by the El Paso Police Department ( E.P.P.D.) at the age of sixteen for the double murder of two teenagers, namely Armando Lazo and Bobby (Robert ) England. He spent 25 years in prison after being sentenced to life imprisonment before finally proving his innocence in a re-trial in 2018.

This all began when on 10th April 1993, when four young men, Armando Lazo, Bobby(Robert), England, Jesse Hernandez, and Juan Medina, were shot after returning from a party. Jesse and Juan escaped, but Lazo and England were shot and died.

The E.P.P.D. Officers Marquez, Graves, Arbogast and Laredo were investigating the murder case. They interrogated Micheal Johnston for eight hours, threatening him. The other suspect was David Rangel, on 21st April 1993 by Marquez. The officers threatened the suspected to accept the confession. David said his cousin Daniel Villegas is a murderer (age 16 in 1993) in the statement he forcefully wrote to the police officers. Contrarily David said that at the time of the murder, Daniel was watching a film at the Village Green Apartments.

On 21st April 1993, Daniel Villegas was arrested by the E.P.P.D. Police. Marquez had Daniel and threatened Daniel for getting him raped in jail. Reportedly Daniel was allowed to contact his parents or defence attorneys. Every time Daniel was interrogated, he was denied the accusation, but the officers forced him to sign the confession. Other suspects like Javier and Rudy Flores were not approached once by the police.

His first trial ended with a hung jury. In his second trial in 1995, he was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. During his time in prison, Daniel suffered mental and physical abuse from the guards. However, on 10th June 2018, the judge found Daniel innocent at 409th District Court. He cried and kneeled after listening to the judge’s announcement.

Currently, his attorneys fight for his right to be compensated by the state of Texas for wrongful imprisonment. He said in the media that “You’ll never be the same”, and talked about how he is not allowed to enter his children’s school premises because of his reputation as a murderer for 25 years.