38 year old Daniel Villegas spent nearly two decades behind bars after he was convicted for the murder of two teenage boys in 1993 but that conviction was overturned in 2014 after the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals threw out Villegas confession.
Now nearly two years since his release and with a possible retrial pending, Villegas has filed a civil lawsuit against the City of El Paso and several El Paso police officers and other unnamed employees of the city.
According to the 42 page lawsuit, at age 16 Villegas says he was coerced into confessing to the murders, stating he was threatened by officers.
Attorney Russell Ainsworth is representing Villegas in the lawsuit, they say they’re not only seeking justice but answers. Why, says Russell, was Villegas not allowed to have his attorney or parents present during questioning and why did the criminal justice system fail him? He continues to say that if it happened to Daniel it could happen to anybody else.
The District Attorney’s Office is moving forward with a retrial for Villegas. The D-A is looking to use phone calls made by Villegas behind bars as new evidence. In a previous interview Villegas said he wants to focus on the positive saying- “I gotta keep them thoughts out though because if I keep dwelling on thoughts like that I’m not going to enjoy everyday life”.
We reached out to the city in regards to the case but they declined to comment. We so also want to note that the murder case against Villegas is not over.