Man who claimed self defense in murder loses appeal
A 32-year-old man convicted of shooting and killing a man in the middle of the street in front of the victim’s home in May 2014 has lost his appeal.
The 13th Court of Criminal Appeals this week affirmed Kevin Lozano’s murder conviction for killing 27-year-old Don Anthony Torres in front of the man’s home on El Lago Drive.
Lozano, who was sentenced to 45 years in prison, argued to the appeals court that evidence in the case was legally insufficient to disprove self-defense and sudden passion and that the trial court erred by denying his motion for a new trial, among other arguments concerning accomplice testimony and the jury charge.
On the night of the murder, Lozano was hanging out with his cousin, Gerardo Lozano, and Torres, the victim.
“ The three men parted ways around 2 a.m., after Lozano’s vehicle became stranded because of a flat tire,” the ruling states. “Lozano testified that a heated verbal exchange between (Gerardo) and Torres resulted in Torres leaving separately on foot.”
Lozano denied knowing why his cousin and the victim argued and remained with Gerardo throughout the night.
Torres’ mother, Estela Torres, told authorities that her son called her between 2 and 3 a.m. asking for a ride home, but she and her husband, Teodoro, were unable to locate him.
“ When they returned home around 5 a.m., she saw Torres standing on their front lawn, carrying a machete and sword,” the ruling states.
The victim’s mother said her son was very upset but wouldn’t tell her what is wrong, though she overheard a phone call where her son, using vulgar language, told someone he was at his house.
During the trial, she testified that her son suffered from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia and that she distanced herself during times of increased agitation.
Brownsville Police Department Detective Eleazar Garcia testified during the trial and Torres’ phone records revealed “insulting” and “violent” text messages between Gerardo and Torres, with the exchange ending at 5:20 a.m. when Torres received a one-word text-message from Gerardo: “outside.”
That’s when Torres ran toward the vehicle with a machete and sword in-hand, swinging the sword, striking the vehicle’s front passenger door, breaking the sword in half.
Charles Owen, the vehicle’s driver, who thought he was taking Lozano and his cousin to buy marijuana, testified he saw Lozano shoot Torres with a shotgun Owens had used for skeet shooting the day before.
At trial, Lozano testified he acted in self-defense, though his testimony contradicted statements he gave to police, including that he barely new Torres and had an alibi.
Lozano is eligible for parole in 2037.
The murder trial of Kevin Lozano of Brownsville began Tuesday morning in the 357th state District Court. A jury will ultimately decide if Lozano, 29, is guilty of the 2014 death of Don Anthony Torres.
Torres’ body was found lying in the middle of the street in front of his home on El Lago Drive on May 17, 2014.
An autopsy report on Torres, 27, revealed he died from internal bleeding as the result of a gunshot wound. Both Kevin Lozano and Gerardo Lozano, 32, were charged in the death of Torres. The two men are part of the group of three initially arrested in connection to Torres’ death.