Houston woman sentenced after being convicted of luring man to MS-13 gang, leading in his death

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Saturday, August 12, 2023
Wanted woman accused of luring man to MS-13 gang members
Jose Villanueva had been hiding from the gang members, who were searching for him for allegedly disparaging the gang in a rap-music battle, according to authorities.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A 24-year-old woman pleaded guilty to luring a man to a field in Spring, where he was brutally killed by MS-13 gang members, according to the Harris County District Attorney's Office.

The video above is from a previous report.

Karla Jackelin Morales, agreed to 30 years in prison right before a jury was selected in her trial for the murder of Jose Alfonso Villanueva on July 29, 2018.

Villanueva killed after meeting with Morales, thinking they were going to smoke marijuana to celebrate his birthday, according to the DA.

When they arrived at the field, five gang members, who have all been convicted in the crime now, slashed Villanueva with a machete and shot him as he tried to run away.

Authorities said Villanueva had been hiding from the gang after disrespecting them in a rap battle. His body was found about a week later.

RELATED: Woman wanted for luring Jose Alfonso Villanueva to his death by MS-13 gang members, authorities say

"(Morales) jumped bail in 2021 to escape the consequences of her actions, but she was re-arrested and, on the eve of trial this week, pleaded guilty for what she did," the DA said. "This was a premeditated and planned out attack, and we have now been able to get justice for the victim's family."

In a news release, the DA said Morales was scheduled to go to trial in October 2021, but she jumped bond and cut off her ankle monitor to escape detection. She was arrested in Houston about nine months later.

"This woman knowingly lured an innocent man to be murdered by five MS-13 gang members in the most brutal and depraved manner that you could imagine sending shockwaves and fear throughout the Houston community," Robert Kurtz, acting special agent in charge, said.

Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Houston. "By working in conjunction with our local law enforcement partners and the Harris County District Attorney's Office, we were able to hold all of the individuals responsible for this horrifying tragedy accountable and hopefully bring some closure to the victim's family."

"This should be cautionary tale to anyone who thinks they may want to join a gang that it doesn't matter your age, gender or anything else," Assistant District Attorney Jason Sanchez said.

RELATED: MS-13 gang member gets 45 years for machete slaying near Spring school