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By Brian Rogers
December 9, 2014
Jose Reyes bragged to two women that he killed a 15-year-old girl with a friend in an effort to sell their souls to the devil, the women testified Tuesday in Reyes’ capital murder trial.
The women, Reyes’ ex-girlfriend and the girlfriend of one of his close friends, told jurors in a Harris County courtroom similarly macabre stories of Reyes smiling and laughing while talking about killing Corriann Cervantes in a satanic ritual.
“The devil told him to do it,” Miranda Leal said on the witness stand. “He said he stabbed her while he was having sex with her.”
Leal, 19, who is dating one of Reyes’ friends, said she and her boyfriend were with the defendant in the days after Cervantes’ death on Feb. 4.
Detailed his acts
She said Reyes was improvising a freestyle rap with friends and rapped about having a threesome with a friend and a girl, then brutally killing her.
Leal asked him about it later, and Reyes showed her a cellphone photo of a sexual act with a girl and another male.
Reyes then detailed a number of horrific acts, including choking Cervantes with a belt, bludgeoning her and stabbing her in the face and torso with a screwdriver, Leal said. He said he “clotheslined” the girl when she tried to leave, then he hit her in the head with a porcelain toilet tank lid, breaking it in half.
The story was so unbelievable, Leal did not believe it until she learned that Cervantes’ body had been found in a vacant apartment in Clear Lake.
Leal was the second woman to testify that Reyes confessed what he did. Earlier Tuesday, the mother of Joe Reyes’ toddler said she feared for her life after overhearing Reyes say he was part of a satanic ritual and killed a girl.
“He said somebody wanted her soul,” Agapita Gonzalez testified. “It made me feel scared for my life.”
Prosecutors have said Reyes and a friend, Victor Alas, left a party at a Clear Lake apartment complex with Cervantes. The three had been drinking alcohol, smoking marijuana and taking Xanax, a prescription medication, before going to a vacant apartment in the complex to have sex.
While Cervantes was in another room, Reyes later said, he convinced Alas he had sold his soul to the devil, which Alas could also do if he killed Cervantes.
Police found the girl’s body in the apartment on Feb. 8. She had been strangled, bludgeoned and stabbed.
Investigators said she also had an upside cross carved into her abdomen and had been sexually assaulted.
‘Wanted her soul’
Reyes, dressed in a purple button down and black tie on Tuesday, listened to Gonzalez tell jurors she lived with him and his family after their baby was born, but had broken up with him before the slaying.
Gonzalez said she was in their home when she overheard Reyes talk about the incident and later confronted him.
“I just remember him talking about killing her,” Gonzalez said as she broke down in tears. She said Reyes was smiling when he said, “somebody wanted her soul.”
Reyes faces an automatic life sentence if convicted of capital murder. Because of their ages at the time of the alleged crime, neither Reyes nor Alas is eligible for the death penalty. Alas’ case is pending.
The trial, in state District Judge Brock Thomas’ court, is expected to last a week.