An 18-year-old Houston-area man is standing trial this week in the gruesome death of a 15-year-old classmate who police say was lured to a vacant apartment in February and brutally mutilated. Prosecutors allege the slaying of Corriann Cervantes was part of a satanic ritual in which defendant Jose Reyes believed he was selling his soul to the devil, NBC affiliate KPRC reported.
Reyes allegedly bragged about the vicious killing, which police claim he committed with a 16-year-old friend who must also stand trial, according to the station. The mother of Reyes' child testified Tuesday that her ex-boyfriend admitted to killing Cervantes days after the attack. "He said somebody wanted (Cervantes') soul," Agapita Gonzalez told jurors. "It made me feel scared for my life."
Reyes and the other suspect convinced the girl to go with them to an abandoned apartment after a party to have sex, police said. Cervantes was later found strangled with a belt, stabbed several times and bludgeoned in the face with the lid of a porcelain toilet. An inverted cross was carved into her stomach, prosecutors said at the trial.
The suspects "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,” Assistant Harris County District Attorney John Jordan told jurors. “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."
The trial, which continued Wednesday morning, is expected to last a week. If convicted, Reyes faces a life sentence with the possibility of parole after 40 years.