On Wednesday, March 3, 2010 Joe Estrada, Jr. was spared a death sentence and instead sentenced to life in prison without parole. Estrada, convicted in the murder of a San Antonio restaurateur, was only 18 years old when he killed Viola Barrios in 2008. The defense argued to the jury that Estrada was born with partial fetal alcohol syndrome and as a result was impulsive, immature, and unable to adapt to social customs. The jury decided on the non-death sentence in four hours.
An article in the San Antonio Express News (March 4, 2010) details the response of the victim’s family to the verdict. According to the paper, the victim’s son Louis Barrio as well as the larger Barrio family was amicable and civil with Estrada’s family. Mr. Barrio is noted as asking Estrada’s father to speak in a joint media statement after the verdict, however Estrada declined.
According to the article, in the weeks after his mother’s murder, Louis Barrio told media outlets that his mother never would have wanted her killer executed. “We were not here for any type of revenge.” Instead Barrio insisted that although not always easy, it is necessary to forgive, “I’m just imitating my mother, and my mother was imitating Christ.”
To read the San Antonio Express Article in its entirety click here.