San Jacinto Co. mass murder suspect's friend faces additional charge, documents say

Friday, May 5, 2023
San Jacinto Co. suspect's charges may be upgraded to capital murder
Francisco Oropeza is being held on a $7.5 million bond on five counts of first degree murder charges. So, what's next in his case?

SAN JACINTO COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- The man accused of helping San Jacinto County mass murder suspect Francisco Oropeza flee is now facing a federal charge, according to documents.

Domingo Castilla was charged on Friday with alien in possession of a firearm.

The video above is from a previous story.

Earlier this week, District Attorney Todd Dillon referred to Castilla as one of Oropeza's friends.

Castilla was booked into the San Jacinto County Jail on Tuesday on possession of marijuana charges. Authorities told us additional charges would later be filed, and on Friday, it came down.

He is accused of helping Oropeza flee the neighborhood where the mass murder suspect is accused of fatally shooting five of his neighbors.

It all started on April 29 when one of the neighbors asked Oropeza to stop shooting his gun in his yard because their baby was trying to sleep.

After a five-day search, Oropeza is now behind bars and is being held on a $7.5 million bond.

It's likely authorities will upgrade his five first-degree murder charges to capital murder, according to San Jacinto County First Assistant District Attorney Rob Freyer.

If officials have aggravating factors to support Francisco Oropeza's charges, they will be upgraded. Dillon has 90 days to present the case.

Criminal Defense Attorney Kent Schaffer, who is not affiliated with the case, told ABC13 several factors are considered when evaluating whether a capital murder charge is necessary. That includes multiple murders and if a child under age 10 was killed. Oropeza is accused of doing both. The youngest victim in last week's shooting was in third grade.

"Because of the county where the case would be tried, the court system there, the prosecution, the types of jurors they're gonna get, which are mostly rural conservative jurors, I think it's a pretty fair bet this guy is gonna get hit with five death penalty sentences," Schaffer said.

Divimara Nava, who is the suspect's domestic partner, is also behind bars in Montgomery County. Nava allegedly admitted to investigators she knew Oropeza arrived early Tuesday at the home where he would be arrested hours later.

Investigators said Nava went out and got donuts for him after he took a shower.

She is being held on a $250,000 bond on a hindering the apprehension of a felon charge.

Freyer said it is possible more people could face charges.