Condemned killer's hopes rest on DNA evidence
News 8 Austin
April 4, 2006
For the 1st time, the family of
an Austin man on Texas' death row is speaking out.
Last month, the Travis County District
Attorney's Office said it would retest DNA evidence in the case of
Louis Castro Perez, convicted in 1999 for 3 murders.
For Perez's sister, schoolteacher Delia Perez-Meyer,
the search for the truth has been a 2nd full-time job.
"I spend most of my waking hours thinking about
it. I live, eat, sleep and breathe Louis Castro Perez," she said.
Louis Castro Perez was convicted for the murder
of Cinda Barz, Michelle Fulwiler, and Barz's 9-year-old
daughter in their South Austin home.
"We never believed my brother committed that
crime, never, not for a second," Perez-Meyer said.
Last year Perez's family asked the Travis
County District Attorney's Office to take another look at some of
the evidence, including items from the crime scene that were never
tested for DNA during the trial. Two weeks ago the Perez family
got their wish.
Perez-Meyer recalled visiting her brother in
Huntsville to share the excitement.
"He says 'Did you hear the news?' and I said, 'Did
you hear the news!' He said the guards woke him up at 2 in the
morning and handed him the newspapers," she said.
Prosecutors are in favor of the DNA testing.
"It's the right thing to do. Mr. Perez is
facing the ultimate punishment, the death penalty," Travis County
Assistant District Attorney Buddy Meyer said.
Advances in DNA technology could lead to new
information on items left at the crime scene, including a skillet,
cigarette butts, a telephone cord, pantyhose and a towel.
That evidence is on its way to the Texas
Department of Public Safety's crime lab, where it will be tested
for new DNA samples. Any new DNA detected could belong to Perez,
the victims or another person.
"The truth is going to come out. We know that
the railroad serial killer murdered those girls," Perez-Meyer said.
She's referring to another man on death row,
Angel Maturino Resendiz. Resendez has been convicted of one murder
and is suspected in at least 14 other killings nationwide; all
were committed near freight rail lines.
Perez-Meyer believes Resendez was the one who
came to the home of Fulwiler and Barz, which sat just a mile away
from the train tracks. Her brother was dating one of the women,
and was the first to discover their bodies, and that is why police
found her brother's handprint in blood at the crime scene, she
"It was just the epitome of being at the wrong
place at the wrong time," she said.
The new DNA tests will look for any matches to
Resendiz's profile, but they believe they had the right guy all
along, prosecutor's said.
"I'm confident in the conviction of Louis
Castro Perez for the murder of those three people. If I'm wrong
then the system did what it needed to do and it worked," Meyer
It could take anywhere from a few weeks to two
months for DNA test results come back, the DA's office said.
"We just want him to come home so we can all
pick up our lives where we left off," Perez-Meyer said.