Child murderer run out of towns in 1990s faces new charges in 2 Texas killings

ByAcacia Coronado AP logo
Thursday, August 17, 2023
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AUSTIN, Texas -- A Texas man who was convicted of killing an 8-year-old girl in the 1980s and then run out of several towns following his early release from prison has been indicted on two new murder charges, including one that could carry the death penalty, prosecutors announced Friday.

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Raul Meza Jr., 62, was arrested on murder charges earlier this year in the deaths of his roommate in May and a woman in 2019. Austin police said at the time they were also looking at as many as 10 cold cases going back to 1996 that could be connected to Meza, though they have not announced any findings.

The indictments handed up by a Travis County grand jury on Thursday include one count of capital murder in the death of Gloria Lofton, 65, who was found in her home. The grand jury also indicted Meza on one count of murder in the death of Jesse Fraga, 80.

Meza's attorney, Russell Hunt Jr., did not immediately return a phone message Friday. Since May, Meza has remained in jail on a $1 million bond.

According to court records, Meza called the Austin Police Department on May 24 and confessed to one of the killings when a detective answered the phone.

"My name is Raul Meza," the caller said, according to an affidavit. "I think you are looking for me."

Decades earlier, Meza caused an uproar in Texas towns where he tried settling down after serving about a third of a 30-year sentence in the rape and killing of 8-year-old Kendra Page. He was released on parole in 1993, with credit for time served and good behavior.

After picketers drove him out of six cities, Meza directly pleaded to the public.

"In my heart, I know that I will not willfully bring harm to anyone," he said during an August 1993 news conference, in which he described himself as a born-again Christian and not a threat to society.

Officers in the Austin suburb of Pflugerville found Fraga's body on May 20 while doing a wellness check after loved ones hadn't heard from him for several days. Lofton was strangled to death.