Jury finds Houston man accused in two fatal wrecks guilty of murder
A Harris County jury found a 38-year-old Houston man guilty of felony murder on Friday for causing a crash that left a 6-year-old boy dead just minutes after a hit-and-run that killed a homeless veteran on a Sunday afternoon in 2015.
The verdict, after about three hours of deliberation, means Blaine Boudreax could face life in prison for killing a 6-year-old boy and a 61-year-old homeless military veteran as the punishment phase of the trial continues next week.
Blaine Boudreaux is accused of causing four wrecks, two of which were fatal, on the afternoon of April 26, 2015.
“That man, in the space of 15 minutes, wiped out two human beings,” said Sean Teare, chief of the district attorney’s vehicular crimes unit, as he pointed to Boudreaux, who did not react to the verdict.
Defense lawyers for Boudreaux tried to argue that the prosecutors did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Boudreaux was committing a hit- and-run when he ran a stoplight and caused the wreck that killed 6-year-old Joshua Medrano.
“It’s devastating that the Medrano family has had to go though this pain,” said attorney Matt Deluca, who is defending Boudreaux with attorney Billy Skinner. “I’m not asking you to discount their pain. I’m just asking you to consider what Mr. Boudreaux is charged with here today. This is not a felony murder case.”
Investigators said he first rear-ended a mother and her daughter on Fannin near the Texas Medical Center about 3 p.m. and was given a traffic ticket by a Houston police officer. About an hour later, he rear-ended a man in a smart car at Weslayan and Westpark.
Within 20 minutes of that, Boudreaux allegedly caused two more crashes, both of which were fatal. He is accused of driving his black Dodge Ram pickup to Spur 5, near the University of Houston, where he ran over 61-year-old homeless military veteran Leonard Batiste.
Fleeing that crash, prosecutors said, Boudreaux ran a stoplight at Lockwood and Interstate 10, colliding with a Honda Civic and killing Medrano. Boudreaux told police he was going 55 mph while witnesses estimated that he was going 60 mph, double the speed limit on that road.
He was arrested for intoxication manslaughter, accused of driving while under the influence of prescription medication.
There was little testimony about intoxication. Instead, prosecutors sought a conviction on felony murder, alleging that Boudreaux killed someone while committing the felony of failure to stop and render aid, or hit and run.
“This defendant killed Joshua Medrano because he was fleeing a horrible wreck that he had just caused,” prosecutor Lynn Nguyen said in closing arguments. “He had just left his license plate at Spur 5 where he killed Leonard Batiste.”
Boudreaux now faces the possibility of life in prison. Punishment for an intoxication manslaughter conviction would have been capped at 20 years in prison.
The trial, in state District Judge Robert Johnson’s court, began Monday.