Houston man gives jailhouse confession to teen’s 2009 slaying, police say

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A Houston man long suspected in the fatal shooting of a 16-year-old youth has been charged in the shooting after confessing in prison.

Juan Rojas Jr., 33, admitted to the 2009 killing of Avilio Martinez during a visit with Houston homicide detectives at the state prison near Wichita Falls, where he is serving out a 42-year sentence for his third conviction on domestic violence.

“Rojas told me that he wanted to confess to the murder of Avilio Martinez,” Detective Jesus Sosa wrote in a sworn statement that was used to charge Rojas with murder. “Rojas told me that several people were involved with the murder of Avilio Martinez but that he was the one who actually shot and killed Avilio.”

Martinez was shot to death Dec. 5, 2009 at a southwest Houston apartment complex while he visited with his girlfriend.

Rojas, who was 25 at the time, was charged with murder in 2010 but prosecutors dropped the case the following year for lack of evidence. Detectives renewed their interest after Rojas wrote a letter confessing to the crime.

Rojas was convicted of assaulting his now ex-wife in 2012, 2013 and 2014. The final conviction led to the 42-year sentence.

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He also had prior convictions for drug possession and two home burglaries, the first of which happened in 2002, when he was 18.

If convicted of murder, Rojas could face up to life in prison. He does not yet have an attorney listed in court records who could be reached for comment.

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