death penalty news—-TEXAS

August 28


Man indicted in 17-year-old's killing—-DA: Decision on death penalty has
not been made.

Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg said Thursday that she
would soon convene a panel of her top deputies to discuss whether to seek
the death penalty against Areli Carbajal Escobar, who earlier in the day
was indicted on a capital murder charge in the May 31 killing of his
17-year-old neighbor.

"It's a horrible, horrible crime," Lehmberg said of the slaying of LBJ
High School student Bianca Maldonado.

Escobar, 30, has been held in the Travis County Jail without bail since
his arrest a few days after the killing at the Huntington Meadows
apartments in East Austin, where Escobar and Maldonado lived.

Lehmberg said a panel of staff members in her office would meet to
consider the case and Escobar's criminal history and to talk to
Maldonado's family, just as they do in every capital murder case.

The Capital Murder Review Committee was established under Lehmberg's
predecessor, Ronnie Earle. Now Lehmberg, who took office in January, makes
the final decision on seeking death.

"I am always particularly concerned when someone is killed at home,"
Lehmberg said.

"I will review it and take all the kinds of things you take into
consideration: how dangerous the defendant is, the nature of the crime,
whether life without parole is adequate protection for the community and
the people employed by the prison system."

Escobar's defense lawyer Steve Brittain said, "This type of crime is
totally inconsistent with anything that anybody would know or believe
about this individual. There's no motive indicated. He doesn't have a
history of psychopathy."

Police have said that Escobar attacked Maldonado when she was alone in her
family's apartment with her 1-year-old son, minutes after her mother and
sister left at 3 a.m. to deliver newspapers.

Escobar did not know Maldonado but, without forcing entry, got into her
apartment and stabbed and sexually assaulted her, police have said.

Sometime during the attack, Escobar's girlfriend, Zoe Lopez, who had been
sleeping with him in his apartment, realized Escobar had left and began
calling Escobar, police said.

About 4:15 a.m., on Lopez's fourth call to Escobar, the line connected and
Lopez heard a woman moaning and screaming for about 10 minutes, police

Later that morning, Escobar arrived at his mother's house with a bloody
shirt, police said.

Maldonado has been remembered as a solid student who took Advanced
Placement courses and made a B average.

(source: Austin American-Statesman)