Petition calls for release of brothers jailed for beating stepfather to death after claim he was raping sister, 9.

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A petition calling for the release of two brothers, and a third teen, who were arrested and charged with murder in the death of their stepfather, has garnered over 232,000 signatures as of this writing.

Christian and Alejandro Trevino, 17 and 18, and their friend Juan Eduardo Melendez, 18, sit in a Hidalgo County jail in Texas after allegedly killing Gabriel Quintanilla, 42, last week after learning that he was suspected of raping their nine-year-old half-sister. Police say the deceased man was beaten to death with brass knuckles, and that the suspects have been cooperating with them.

“The three teenagers are currently in custody and have their bonds set at over 1 million dollars each. If convicted of capital murder, they face a minimum sentence of life imprisonment without parole,” the petition reads. “We ask that the state of Texas to release these teenagers, who could possibly spend the rest of their life in prison for protecting their sister.”

The teens are accused of beating Quintanilla and leaving him to die in an open field, according to the San Antonio Express-News. The McAllen Police Department found Quintanilla on Jan. 20 and notified the Pharr Police Department, turning the investigation of his death over to them.

“Quintanilla, who had an arrest warrant for sexually abusing another child, was found with severe blunt force trauma to his head,” the paper reported, citing police. “Authorities believe the brothers became enraged after learning the allegations about Quintanilla and their sister, and fought with Quintanilla at a trailer park.”

After fighting with Quintanilla on two separate occasions, the teens reportedly assaulted him for a third time when they found him walking alone near an apartment complex.

Pharr Chief of Police Andy Harvey said at a news conference that Quintanilla had a warrant dating back to 2019 for continuous sexual assault of a child.

This was a separate incident unrelated to those involved in the current homicide investigation,” the police chief explained. In that case, a minor was sexually assaulted from 2014 to 2016 and was reported to authorities in May 2019.

Harvey further explained that the reason the brothers and their friend face capital murder charges is because they kidnapped Quintanilla and removed personal items from the body.

Alejandro Treviño was charged with aggravated assault, family violence, and engaging in organized criminal activity. Christian Treviño was charged with capital murder, aggravated assault, family violence, and engaging in criminal activity. Juan Eduardo Melendez was charged with capital murder, aggravated assault, and engaging in criminal activity.

Despite the brutality of the attack, social media users were firmly in the corner of the teenagers, believing they were protecting their little sister.

Here’s a sampling of responses to the story from Twitter:

Tom Tillison


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