Trial underway for man charged with killing daughter's girlfriend


by HEATHER KOVAR / KVUE News and photojournalist JOHN FISHER

Bio | Email | Follow: @HeatherK_KVUE

Posted on December 11, 2012 at 7:12 PM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 11 at 7:21 PM

TRAVIS COUNTY -- A father charged with murdering his daughter's girlfriend and her mother was in court Tuesday.

Jose Aviles is accused of gunning down 24-year-old Norma Hurtado and 45-year-old mother Maria Hurtado in their home in April of last year. Aviles' lawyer says only one murder was intentional, so they're fighting capitol charges.

Norma was the girlfriend of Aviles' teenage daughter. Police found the women shot dead in their Southeast Austin home.

Testimony began Tuesday in Travis County 403rd District Court. Aviles' lawyer says only one murder was intentional, so they're fighting capitol charges.

Translators were brought in for some of the testimony in Spanish. The jury heard from family members of the Hurtado's and Aviles' as well as investigators and arresting officers.

In opening statements, the attorney for Aviles pleaded not guilty to capital murder. Criminal defense attorney Brad Urrutia explained that the strict definition of capital murder is intent to kill two people.
So instead, the defense only wants to take the blame for one death -- Norma Hurtado. They claim the mother also being shot was accidental.

"I'm just going to reiterate what our theory is, which is that he intended to kill Norma and not Maria," said Urrutia.

Following the deaths, same-sex advocates spoke at vigils. Some considered this a hate crime since the woman his attorney says Aviles intentionally shot was the girlfriend of his daughter, Lydia. The prosecution is not handling it as such, and Urrutia says such a case wouldn't have been easy to prove and that.

Aviles now 20-year-old son, Umberto, testified that he drove his dad to the victims' house after he got home from school the day of the crime. He said his dad was drunk but okay, and that he didn't know his dad had a gun. Umberto said his dad told him he wanted to speak to his sister who was staying with the Hurtados. He said his father didn't care about their relationship, he just wanted to make sure they didn't keep him from seeing Lydia's young child, his granddaughter.

Umberto said he knocked on the door, but his dad, who told him he was going to stay in the car, ran up to the door, and pushed him away. Umberto ran back to car as he said he heard gunshots.

Wednesday the jury is expected to hear from the medical examiner. There is also a statement Jose Aviles gave to police that his defense attorney says will likely be played at some point.

A capital murder conviction would bring a life sentence without parole. If instead Aviles is found guilty of murder, he would be eligible for parole in 30 years.