HOUSTON — A Texas teen is on trial after allegedly beating, mutilating and gauging a classmate’s eyes before killing her in a satanic ritual this past February.
Jose Reyes, 18, faces a life sentence for the death of Coriann Cervantes, 15, who he attended school with at Clear Path Alternative School in League City. His trial began on Monday with gruesome and graphic testimony being shared before the court.
According to reports, Reyes and Cervantes went to an abandoned apartment in Houston after a night of drinking and marijuana use to engage in sexual activity. Reyes friend, Victor Alias, 16, was also there.
Matters turned violent when the two began beating the girl with the porcelain lid of a toilet tank and stabbed her in the face and chest with a screwdriver. They also allegedly carved an upside down cross on her stomach and gauged her eyes when she bit their hands to try to get them to stop assaulting her. Reports additionally state that when Cervantes initially attempted to run away, Reyes beat her in the head with an ashtray and Alias strangled her with a belt.
“What did he say Victor did with the belt?” Assistant Harris County District Attorney John Jordan asked Reye’s sister on the stand, who said that her brother had told her about some of the things that happened that night.
“Wrapped it around her neck,” she replied.
“Did he say Victor pulled on it?” Jordan inquired.
“Yes,” she said.
“They discussed the fact that Mr. Reyes had sold his soul to the devil, and if they ended up killing this teenager, that would also allow the 16-year-old to also sell his soul to the devil,” Jordan told reporters. “The teenager screamed, ‘Why are you doing this to me?’ During that time, they stopped her. It became a kidnapping and, ultimately, she was killed.”
Cervantes’ body was found three days later. The man who found her testified in court that he didn’t recognize her at first because of her injuries. She was also half-naked and her clothes were torn.
“What happened in that vacant apartment was sadistic,” Jordan said. “What will eventually happen in the… courtroom will be justice.”
Local television station KHOU reports that some of the jurors who listened to the details of Cervantes’ murder began crying.
Members of the Reyes family contacted police when the teen partially admitted some of what had happened to the girl. He later confessed to committing the crime, reports state. Jordan stated that “there were some signs of devil worship and things of that nature” found in Reyes’ home.
He has been held since February without bail. Alias also faces murder charges and will stand trial at a later date. If convicted, Reyes will be eligible for parole in 40 years should he receive a life sentence. He is not eligible for the death penalty since the crime was allegedly committed when he was 17.