Hector ‘Cholo’ Acosta-Ojeda, charged with three homicides, was found guilty of capital murder and sentenced to death on Wednesday
Acosta-Ojeda, 30, was accused of murdering his roommate Erick Zelaya, 26, and his girlfriend Iris Chirinos, 17, in Arlington, Texas
Acosta-Ojeda fired two shots into 26-year-old Erick Zelaya’s head as he slept at home in September 2017
After shooting both victims, Acosta-Ojeda buried the couple in shallow graves in a backyard and used a machete to behead Zelaya
Zelaya was killed after he admitted his involvement in a drive-by shooting at Acosta-Ojeda’s home
The victim and his girlfriend showed up after the shooting, and they seemed to be laughing, the following day the home was burned down
Acosta-Ojeda confronted Zelaya about the shooting and Zelaya admitted to being involved. Hours later both Zelaya and Chirinos were killed
The defendant later buried both bodies in a shallow grave in the backyard
Before burial cut off Zelaya’s head with a machete,place it in a trash bag which he dumped near a trail by Arlington’s AT&T stadium
Acosta-Ojeda is also charged with the murder of 34-year-old Triston Ray Algiene in 2017
A Texas man has been sentenced to death for the murders of his roommate, who was beheaded with a machete, and the roommate’s 17-year-old girlfriend.
A jury in Fort Worth handed Hector Acosta-Ojeda, 30, the death penalty on Wednesday after he was found guilty of capital murder last week for pair of murders he committed in 2017.
Acosta-Ojeda, a self-proclaimed hit man for a Mexican drug cartel, brutally killed Erick Zelaya and girlfriend, Iris Chirinos, in Arlington by fatally shooting them. He fired two shots into 26-year-old Erick Zelaya’s head as he slept at home in September 2017
Prosecutors say Acosta-Ojeda mutilated their bodies, including beheading Zelaya, before placing their bodies in a shallow grave in his backyard and leaving Zelaya’s head on a nearby walking trail wrapped in a trash bag.
Acosta-Ojeda reportedly acted in revenge and called the killings retaliation for a previous drive-by shooting that he believed Zelaya participated.
Eric Zelaya and his girlfriend Iris Chirinos were killed by Acosta-Ojeda,in Sept 2017 and their bodies were buried in Arlington, Texas backyard.
Investigators believe they were involved in the murder of Triston Algiene in July before they were killed two months later
At trial defense attorneys had suggested a life sentence, claiming that Acosta-Ojeda’s childhood was filled with violence and a brain injury may have affected him.
It is unclear what the brain injury is or if there is an official diagnosis.
In September 2017, Acosta-Ojeda fired two shots into 26-year-old Zelaya’s head while he slept at home before shooting Chirinos when she tried to flee the scene.
Prosecutors told the jury that Acosta-Ojeda said he killed Zelaya in retaliation for a separate shooting that happened at his old house in Arlington.four months earlier when two gunmen opened fire on the house as Acosta-Ojeda and others slept inside.
Moments after the shooting, Zelaya and his girlfriend showed up at the home and seemed to be laughing. he following day Acosta-Ojeda’s home was burned down.
Rousseau said Zelaya had confessed to Acosta-Ojeda that he had been involved in the shooting.
Authorities searched Zelaya’s home [photo], on the 200 block of Burton Drive where they found evidence of blood, a machete and the dismembered remains of two people in the backyard
Shortly after the shooting, Zelaya and Chirinos showed up at the home and appeared to be laughing. The next day Acosta-Ojeda’s home was burned down.
Tarrant County Assistant District Attorney Kevin Rousseau said that Acosta-Ojeda stayed with Zelaya for the majority of the summer of 2017, during which time he heard rumors of his new roommate’s involvement.
The idea ‘ate away at him.’
After executing the couple, Acosta-Ojeda went into the backyard and dug up a shallow grave for their bodies.
According to prosecutors, Acosta ‘made a sign… then grabbed the bag and sign, got on a bicycle and rode to a location near where his home had been burned down.’
He left Zelaya’s head near a man-made trail near the AT&T Stadium in Arlington with a sign written in Spanish that read, ‘La Raza Se Resreta y Faltan 4,’ which loosely translates to, ‘The race, or group, must be respected and there’s only four left.’
A criminal investigation was launched after the severed head was discovered by a terrified local resident and a search warrant was set at Zelaya’s home in the 200 block of Burton Drive.
Officers executing the search warrant against the home discovered evidence of blood, a machete and the remains of the two victims buried in a shallow grave in the backyard at the home.
In addition to the Arlington murders, Acosta-Ojeda is charged with the robbery and killing of Triston Ray Algiene in July 2017 in Fort Worth.
Algiene’s body was found in October 2017 cut in half, buried beneath a bedroom and covered in concrete at an abandoned home in the 6400 block of Woodway Drive.
Prosecutors believe Triston Ray Algiene was murdered in July 2017, after he went to the Fort Worth home to purchase drugs and was instead robbed and then killed. Found under concrete, a test was required to confirm the body was Algiene’s because most of it had decomposed before he was discovered.
Acosta-Ojeda and another man, Felipe Eduardo Ortiz, were charged with the crime.
The Star-Telegram reports that Algiene allegedly visited Acosta-Ojeda and Ortiz at a home for drug deal gone bad on July 3, 2017.
The meeting is believed by authorities to be a set up that led to Algiene being bound and beaten while the suspects demanded his debit card PIN.
Two other people, thought to be Zelaya and Chirinos, attempted to use the card but discovered the PIN didn’t work.
Police say Acosta-Ojeda then shot Algiene in the head.
The house, vacant and up for sale when Fort Worth police went to investigate a tip, had been remodeled with new flooring and carpeting.
Fort Worth police and officials used jackhammers and shovels to recover Algiene’s body, which was discovered in a bedroom under a repair patch in the foundation.
Heavily decomposed, the body still had rope and duct tape tied around the head area when found, sources say.
Algiene’s identity was only recently confirmed through DNA tests. Ortiz has not yet been convicted of those charges.