The mastermind behind the 2016 killing of a teenager at a park in Missouri City as part of an effort to silence him as a witness in a murder trial has been sentenced to life in prison, according to a Thursday news release from the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.
A Harris County jury this week found Omar Torres, 28, guilty of capital murder in connection to the death of Estuar Quinonez, 16, after a nearly two-week trial, according to the DA’s office. Torres is ineligible for parole.
Torres, a member of the MS-13 transnational gang, was in Harris County jail in 2016 when he directed several fellow gang members to kill Quinonez because the teenager was cooperating with authorities and had agreed to testify against Torres in connection to the ambush and killing of a rival gang member, according to the news release.
While in jail, Torres phoned fellow gang members who lured Quinonez to Buffalo Run Park in Missouri City and shot him 15 times as he sat on a park bench, prosecutors said.
Torres had initially been arrested for the death of Noe Mendez, who was shot and killed by several MS-13 members in February 2016 in the Gulfton area, according to the news release.
MS-13 is a transnational gang that started in California in the 1980s and quickly spread across the country and into Central America. The gang now has a presence in major cities, including in Houston and the region.
This is the third person to receive a sentence in connection to the death of Quinonez.
Jose Guerra Sibrian in June was sentenced to 50 years in prison for assisting in the killing of Quinonez, prosecutors announced. Sibrian will be eligible for parole after serving 30 years of his sentence.
And in May, Douglas Alexander Herrera-Hernandez was sentenced to life in prison after a jury found him guilty of capital murder, according to court records.