Two teenage brothers and a third teen in Pharr, Texas have been charged with beating the brothers' stepfather to death for allegedly sexually abusing his nine-year-old daughter — their half-sister.
Christian Trevino, 17, is charged with aggravated assault, capital murder and engaging in criminal activity in the Thursday death of Gabriel Quintanilla, 42.
Juan Eduardo Melendez, 18, is also charged with capital murder, aggravated assault and engaging in criminal activity in Quintanilla's death. He’s also facing a possession of marijuana charge, according to Hidalgo County Jail records McAllen Monitor.
Alejandro Trevino, 18, is charged with aggravated assault and engaging in organized criminal activity. (Alejandro Trevino was not charged with capital murder because he was not involved in delivering the injuries that cause the victim’s death, according to Pharr Police Deputy Chief Juan Gonzalez.)
Police said the brothers are the half siblings of the nine-year-old, according to the Monitor.
All three teens were arraigned on Sunday.
Police said that Gabriel Quintanilla, 42, was beaten at several different locations, including with brass knuckles, and suffered severe head injuries before he was left — apparently alive — in a field in McAllen. He was discovered there by a farmer on Thursday afternoon.
Police say the brothers were angered after their nine-year-old half-sister told their mom about being inappropriately touched by Quintanilla, her father and the boys' stepfather, Gonzalez said a news conference on Sunday.
The child also told Alejandro and Christian about the incident, police said.
“When brothers Alejandro and Christian Trevino found out, they became enraged and confronted Gabriel Quintanilla at the residence. A physical fight ensued between the three and the victim, Quintanilla, left the location on foot,” according to a press release from the Pharr Police Department.
Christian Trevino then chased Quintanilla on foot, catching up with him at an apartment complex and beating him again, according to police. Police said Alejandro Trevino and Juan Eduardo Melendez, driving a car, caught up with Quintanilla and Christian Trevino and joined in the second assault.
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The three then left Quintanilla, drove to pick up a Ford F-150, and again went looking for Quintanilla, who they found injured and walking alone. They confronted him again.
“A third assault occurs, and the victim is severely beaten. The victim, who is still alive, is placed in the bed of the truck and [they] drove off," police said. "[They] ended up in the McColl and Whalen Road area where the victim was dropped off in an open field and the suspects fled,” according to police.
At a press conference on Tuesday, police revealed that Quintanilla was wanted on charges of continuous sexual assault of a child and assault, family violence dating to 2019, the Monitor reported.
Police said that case involved another minor child, not the Trevino's half-sister, and the abuse had been ongoing until it was reported to police three years ago. A warrant was issued for Quintanilla's arrest at the time, but he'd successfully evaded authorities' attempts to arrest him since the warrant was issued.
It's unclear if the Trevino brothers knew about the other pending charges against Quintanilla.
"We understand the sentiment and the attention that this case has drawn in this homicide in our city," Pfarr Police Chief Andy Harvey said at the press conference. "We definitely understand that; that’s why I think it’s important to have this conversation."