Man sentenced to life in fatal carjacking trial

Timoteo Rios has been found guilty of capital murder for fatally stabbing a mother of five during an attempted carjacking in 2008

June 9, 2011 4:07:12 PM PDT
A Harris County jury spent less than an hour deliberating Thursday afternoon before returning a guilty verdict for Timoteo Rios on a capital murder charge. Rios automatically received life in prison for the killing.

Prosecutors say Rios fatally stabbed Tina Davila, a mother of five, during an attempted carjacking in 2008. Rios fled to Mexico after the killing and was captured in Guadalajara in August 2009. The Mexican government wouldn't release Rios back into U.S. custody because he would face the death penalty. Only after Texas authorities agreed he would not face the death penalty was Rios extradited.

The jury was able to consider less charges in this case -- either murder or felony murder -- but in the end they went with the original charge of capital murder.

Prosecutors have store surveillance video that investigators say shows Rios and an accomplice in front of the Cricket store on Uvalde in April 2008. Shortly after, Davila was stabbed to death after resisting a carjacking because her 4-month-old baby daughter was inside the car at the time.

Rios took the stand today in his own defense. He said he was just trying to scare Davila and did not intend to stab or kill her. Rios went on to say he didn't even remember stabbing Davila because he was drunk and didn't realize he stabbed her until he saw blood on his knife. Rios also said he was sorry.

During closing arguments, Rios' defense attorney asked the jury if it has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Rios intended to kill Davila.

Assistant District Attorney Tina Ansari said, "It takes a special kind of evil person to take this knife and stab someone straight through the heart. He knew before he stabbed her that there was a baby in the car. This mother was a hero for protecting her baby."

Davila's daughter delivered a victim impact statement after the judge read the punishment. She directed many questions toward Rios, who of course could not answer them, but she told us afterward that she still wanted to speak for her family and make that impact statement.

Rios said goodbye to his mother and his 13-year-old sister who were in tears. He is now headed to prison for life.

Kennedy Escoto, the man who drove the getaway car, was convicted of aggravated robbery and sentenced to 40 years in prison.

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