This summer was a time of learning and new experiences for me and it was pure bliss. I was fortunate enough to land an internship at The Facts newspaper in Brazoria County.
I worked as a reporter for an actual newspaper, which was not only a huge accomplishment but literally, a dream come true.
I reported some major accidents, met some interesting people and, oh yeah, I got to watch a murder trial unfold.
The initial incident occurred two years ago on December 7, 2012, while David Barajas was traveling home with his family (wife, daughter and two sons) when their Ford F-250 ran out of gas less then 100 yards from their home.
Barajas decided that he and his two sons would be able to push the truck home because they were so close. As they were pushing the truck home, a Chevy Malibu struck Barajas and his sons.
I can only imagine waking up after being knocked out and hearing my wife screaming “MY BABIES, MY BABIES!” What was wrong with his babies?
After regaining consciousness and realizing that he and his two children were hit, Barajas began the search for his boys, but he didn’t have to search for long because right before his eyes he could see half of his youngest son, because that’s all there was left of him. The impact was so powerful that it literally severed the bottom half of the young boys body.
As Barajas tried to breath life into his dying child, he remembered his other son. He hastily ran to the ditch where he could see a foot, there lay his other boy. He lost one, and then he lost another one.
Somewhere in the haze of it all the, the police arrived and found a boy in the passenger seat of the car that plowed into the Barajas’s pickup truck. He had a bullet hole in his head.
Days after the accident, this father was charged with murder and awaiting trial.
The trial started during the last week of my internship and because the actual events occurred years before I got there, I wasn’t familiar with the case at all and only knew about the trial because my friend and co-worker was covering it for the paper.
I didn’t have too many projects for that week so I asked my editor if I could sit in on the case and she suggested that I even take some photos, I was stoked.
I missed the first day but when I got there the second day I was thoroughly informed about what happened on the previous day.
The tension was high because there were members from both families present, though the Barajas clan clearly outnumbered the family of Jose Banda, the man who was found shot in the passenger seat of the wrecked car.
As the hours pressed on, the truth was unknown but it was clear to me that the man on trial was not guilty. The prosecution wanted to prove that his man went to his house and shot a kid because his own two children were killed, but that wasn’t my impression.
I don’t have words to express the feeling that I felt as the witnesses were pressed for the truth and one by one, they broke and though they were no closer to the truth, the Barajas defense team led by Sam Cammack proved reasonable doubt.
I sat in the trial for eight hours for three days and every day I was amazed, but my dismay came when I had to return to Kingsville. I was sad to leave the trial, knowing that it was nearing the end. I wanted so desperately to be there to witness the verdict but I was still happy to receive the text, “He was acquitted.”
I wasn’t happy for personal reasons, I was happy because I truly didn’t believe that this man shot anyone after witnessing his two children killed. I thought that the saddest part of the situation was that both families lost a child but David Barajas was not able to mourn the loss of his boys until the day he got his “not guilty” verdict.