Penalty phase for convicted killer in Texas case

VICTORIA, TX A jury in Victoria on Wednesday was expected to hear closing arguments in the life-or-death punishment phase for 20-year-old Joe Estrada Jr.

Jurors on Feb. 18 convicted Estrada of the 2008 killing of Viola Barrios, who had been his neighbor, in what prosecutors say was a burglary. The 76-year-old victim was the matriarch of the Los Barrios Mexican restaurant, which she opened in 1979.

Both sides rested Tuesday afternoon in the penalty phase.

The trial was moved about 120 miles, to Victoria, because of intense media coverage in the San Antonio area.

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