More than 230,000 people have signed a petition calling for the release of two Texas brothers and a friend, who were arrested for allegedly pummeling their stepfather to death after he was accused of sexually abusing their sister.
Alejandro Trevino, 18, and Christian Trevino, 17, became “enraged” after learning of the allegations against their stepdad, Gabriel Quintanilla, 42, and confronted him last week at his home in Pharr, officials said.
Quintanilla, who had an arrest warrant for sexually abusing another child, was accused of inappropriately touching his 9-year-old daughter.
The brothers fought with Quintanilla at a trailer park — and all three left before another physical dispute broke out in a nearby apartment complex.
Juan Eduardo Melendez, an 18-year-old pal of the Trevinos, joined in on the second fight, authorities said.
The three teens then left the apartment complex — only to return a short time later and found Quintanilla, injured and walking alone on the road. He was then beaten to a pulp with brass knuckles, police said.
Melendez and Christian Trevino were charged with capital murder and aggravated assault. Alejandro was charged with aggravated assault and engaging in organized criminal activity.
“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,” according to an online petition.
“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,” it adds.
As of Friday morning, almost 232,000 people signed the petition.
A second, similar petition has more than 30,000 signatures, according to KWTX.