Victim's family wants justice served in US

Timoteo Rios was arrested in Mexico several months ago. He arrived in Houston Saturday afternoon.

February 11, 2010 7:46:57 AM PST
He's accused of killing a local mother roughly two years ago, but he's not behind bars in the United States. Timoteo Rios is locked up in Mexico and the victim's family wants him back in the US to go on trial. They say justice has not been served.

Though it's been almost two years, there's not a day that goes by that Margaret Matt doesn't think about her sister-in-law Tina Davila and her last moments.

"He took away my friend. It's actually been hell," said Margaret.

The crime was brutal, the wait for justice now agonizing.

"What's taking so long?" Margaret asked.

It was April 2008 when Davila jumped out of her SUV to pay a phone bill at a store in northeast Harris County. She had almost made it to the door when she was stabbed to death. A surveillance camera was rolling. Investigators concluded Timoteo Rios was trying to get her keys to her SUV, but the mother of five resisted because her infant daughter was still inside.

For months, Rios was on the run. Then in August of last year, US Marshals caught up with him in Mexico. But he has yet to see the inside of a Harris County jail.

"What's the hold up? Really, what is the hold up?" asked Margaret.

Davila's family and friends are looking forward to Rios' day in court, but they don't know when that will be and that's what's frustrating. Rios is charged with capital murder but in order to get him back here, the Harris County District Attorney's Office has agreed not to seek the death penalty. Prosecutors have submitted a formal extradition request to Mexico and like Davila's loved ones, they're just waiting too.

"They have the right to allow us to extradite him or keep him in their custody, so the ball is in their court so to speak," said Donna Hawkins with the Harris County District Attorney's Office.

The reason for the delay could be anything, from political connections to bureaucracy, or the case may simply not be a priority, says our legal expert, and the wait is not unusual.

"It's just the way it is. The system works slowly. Extraditions don't happen overnight and other countries will honor extraditions at their own convenience," said KTRK Legal Analyst Joel Androphy.

Margaret just wants closure and that she says will be when Rios is back in Houston and in court.

"I wish he'd burn in hell," said Margaret.

We wanted some answers from the Mexican government, but the Mexican Consulate in Houston declined to comment, saying it was a federal issue. Instead they referred us to the Mexican Embassy in Washington, DC. Our calls were not returned.