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Appeals court rules Daniel Villegas should get a new trial

KTSM
News

POSTED: Wednesday, December 18, 2013 - 11:45pm

UPDATED: Thursday, December 19, 2013 - 12:20am

Villegas gives his reaction only to News Channel 9

The Texas State Court of Appeals ruled today that Daniel Villegas deserves a new trial because they believe he had ineffective council twenty years ago when he was convicted.

But the opinion also said that Villegas has not shown he is actually innocent.

Daniel Villegas said these next few hours of waiting will be some of the longest and hardest he has faced.

Come Friday, he could be a free man out on bond.

"These 16 months have been the worst of my life, waiting for this answer, most stressful at least,” he said. “I've probably aged fifteen years in sixteen months."

He was convicted for the murder Armando Lazo and Robert England in North East El Paso in 1993.

He admitted to the murders and was convicted in 1995, but claims he was wrongfully accused and that the confession he gave was coerced by a former El Paso police detective.

For his family, the news from the Texas Court of Appeals is a long time coming.

"I think just like Daniel, we want to thank everyone for all their support, especially the Marbella family," said Michelle Pena, Daniel’s sister.

John Mimbella has made it his mission to raise awareness to Daniel’s case and to make sure that he is set free.

“The District Attorney can retry it, if they chose to,” Mimbella said. “But we are not worried about that. The facts are staked in Daniel’s favor. All they have is a confession, a confession that doesn’t fit the facts.”

Villegas has been in prison for almost 20 years.

State District Judge, Sam Medrano, first recommended a new trial for Villegas. And today the appeals court agreed.

Now there is a bond hearing set for Friday, were Daniel and his family will ask Judge Medrano to be set free on bond until a new trial begins.

When Daniel went into prison, he was only 16.

The world is a much different place. Daniel says if he is set free on bond Friday, first thing he is going to do is check out the today’s technology.

"I wasn’t to see what this internet is all about. All these years i have been hearing internet this and internet that, Google this and Google that. So i want to see what all the hype is about."

Until then, it is up to Judge Medrano to deside if Villegas will be out on bond this weekend.

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