Suspect arrested in halfway house murder: EPCSO

Crime

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — A man was arrested in connection with a murder at a Horizon halfway house in December 2020.

Christopher Cortez was charged with murder and arrested on Dec. 9. He was booked into the El Paso County Jail Annex.

On Dec. 8, EPCSO deputies were called to the El Paso Multi Use Facility in Horizon, located at 1700 Horizon, where one of the residents, James Munoz, was found bleeding and unresponsive on the shower floor.

According to an affidavit, deputies reviewed surveillance video of Dec. 8, which showed Cortez wearing a white shirt and dark-colored pants while talking to Munoz as he walked into the restroom/shower area of the facility. Munoz was seen following Cortez into the restroom.

The document states that minutes later, Cortez was seen exiting the restroom and holding his shirt. He was then seen in the recreational area throwing an item over the chainlink fence into the desert area. Cortez was later seen throwing his shirt into a trash can.

Court documents state that a witness said he saw Cortez with a knife when he went to use the restroom and heard what sounded like punches coming from the shower area. The witness stated to detectives that he saw Cortez leaving the shower area covered in blood and heard him saying that Munoz was dead.

Deputies said they recovered a white shirt stained with what appeared to be blood and a knife from the trash can and another knife that was located in the desert area behind the rec area.

On Dec. 9, detectives with EPCSO Major Crimes Unit met with Cortez, who initially said he didn’t know what happened to Munoz. Court documents state that he said he went to the restroom once and to the recreational area to smoke. However, when detectives said his story did not match the video footage, Cortez said he would no longer answer questions.

The detectives then arrested Cortez for tampering with evidence and told him that he possibly faced a murder charge.

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