'They were supposed to be friends': Family in shock after discovering person charged in man's murder

Jessica Willey Image
Wednesday, April 12, 2023
Man accused of killing his friend he knew 'since elementary school'
The family of a man killed on the East Beltway is angry the man charged with his murder has bonded out of jail.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- The family of a man shot on the East Beltway is in shock over who has been charged with his murder.

Samuel Mata, 23, was shot to death as he drove a truck on the East Sam Houston Parkway Monday morning.

Jose Paredes, 22, was in the passenger seat and has been charged with murder. Mata's family said the two had been friends since elementary school.

"Yeah, they were supposed to be friends," Mata's sister, Nereyda Gonzalez Mata, told ABC13. "My mom keeps saying over and over, 'I would never worry about him going out with this guy because he was supposed to be his friend.' I thought we knew him, and this is how he repaid him. So, we're just completely heartbroken."

The two were out together Sunday night. Monday morning, Mata told his girlfriend he was on his way home, but he never made it.

ORIGINAL STORY: Pickup truck driver allegedly shot and killed by passenger on East Sam Houston Tollway, sheriff says

A driver is dead after being shot by his passenger inside a truck on the East Sam Houston Tollway in northeast Harris County, deputies said.

For an unknown reason, Harris County homicide detectives said Paredes shot and killed Mata. He told them he did not remember what had happened. When deputies responded to the scene, Paredes had a gun, they said.

"It was not an accident. It was not just one shot gone off. It was two. It was cruel, and we want justice to be served," Mata's sister said.

Paredes was in court early Tuesday morning. A hearing officer set his bond at $250,000, and by Tuesday evening, Paredes was out of jail.

"It is not fair. I wish the judge would take our sentiment into consideration. It is not fair," she added. "He deserves more."

Though Paredes has a right to a bond, Mata's family said it adds more pain to their loss.

Mata was the youngest of six children. His mother, Vianey Mata, was grief-stricken at the prayer gathering they held at their house in southeast Houston Tuesday night. She wondered out loud if Paredes would sleep well.

Paredes had to surrender his passport and get a GPS monitor as conditions of his bond. He told the hearing officer he is not a U.S. citizen.

His next court setting is Wednesday morning.

Mata's family has set up a GoFundMe to help with expenses related to his unexpected death.

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