HOUSTON (KTRK) --At age 16, Victor Manuel Alas is technically a juvenile. Today, before a judge, he was deemed old enough to stand trial as an adult for capital murder.
Alas and an alleged 17-year-old accomplice are accused in an especially horrific killing six months ago in clear lake. A 15-year-old girl named Corriann Cervantes was found dead inside a vacant apartment on El Camino Real.
Investigators said at the time that the victim had been stabbed with a screwdriver, beaten and sexually assaulted. Her killers are also accused of carving an upside down crucifix on her body.
Jose E Reyes, 17, was arrested shortly after the February murder. Alas was taken into custody shortly after that.
In court today, the 16-year-old stood silently before a judge in jail clothes -- his attorney on one side, the prosecutor on the other.
It was revealed during the hearing that Alas was also questioned about a burglary in Galveston last December. A large amount of jewelry was said to have been stolen, as well as the homeowner's car.
As for the motivation behind Cervantes' murder, prosecutors read from a police report that said Alas told detectives, "He did it so he could sell his soul to the devil."
The prosecution called it "an intimate and terrible crime." Alas' attorney said rehabilitation through court-certified programs would be preferable over life in prison.
Without hesitation, the judge ruled the teenager will stand trial for capital murder as an adult. Because of his age, Alas' lawyer says he will not face the death penalty if convicted.
Families of both the suspect and the victim were in court for the hearing. Neither paused to make any public comments after the hearing.
Alas will have his first appearance later this month in criminal court. He turns 17 on August 25. The prosecutor says that he may spend his birthday in court.