Man gets life in prison for brutal 2015 beating death of Harris Co. veteran

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Friday, July 2, 2021

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- A Houston man was convicted of capital murder Thursday afternoon for beating an Army veteran to death in 2015.

After a five-day trial, 26-year-old Josue Angel Leal was convicted of the crime and was automatically sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

It only took the jurors 23 minutes to make the conviction, according to a release from the Harris County District Attorney's Office.

"This vicious predator should never again step foot in our community," District Attorney Kim Ogg said. "We thank the jurors for their service in seeing that justice was done in this senseless attack."

Leal attacked 43-year-old Kevin A. Bartelt in December 2015. The attack happened at Bartelt's home on Chelsea Elm Court.

ABC13 was in Montgomery County in 2015 when Leal was arrested as a person of interest in the case.

ORIGINAL STORY: Person of interest arrested in Harris County beating death

Person of interest in custody in deadly beating in NW Houston County.

Deputies say Leal was driving the victim's car at the time of his arrest. The soles of his shoes matched patterned injuries on Bartelt's head and body because he was kicked so viciously.

Leal was actually on parole at the time of his arrest. He had been recently released from prison for a four-year burglary sentence.

According to the district attorney's office, Bartelt was a good Samaritan who opened his Houston home to homeless people who needed a place to stay. Leal reportedly stayed at the home off and on for a few weeks.

After Bartelt's murder, Leal used his credit card to buy Whataburger and a gaming console, according to evidence presented at the trial.

Bartelt served as a combat engineer in First Gulf War.

"On the eve of this Fourth of July, the Harris County District Attorney's Offices, along with the people of Harris County, were able to deliver justice for a veteran who was murdered not because he was a soldier, but, for his humanity," Assistant District Attorney George Lindsey.