He admitted choking 17-year-old Jacqueline Gomez in a Houston hotel room after the 2014 MacArthur High School prom but he confessed it happened during rough sex (implying he didn’t kill her knowingly).
No wonder the court referred to it as aggravated assault and not murder. Whatever term is used, the fact remains that there was a death and now a 25-year jail term.
An autopsy found hydrocodone and alcohol in Gomez’s system.
“With a combination of the alcohol and the hydrocodone, the body was already so depressed that it could not recover from those choking injuries,” said Assistant District Attorney Justin Wood. “This is just extremely sad because it could’ve all been prevented.”
It took the police nearly 8 months after Gomez’s death before Herrera was arrested. At the time, he told police Gomez was still alive when they both fell asleep. When he woke May 17, 2014, he was unable to wake her, police said.
During the sentencing phase of Herrera’s trial, the prosecutor reminded jurors that Herrera called his mother first when he woke up to find Gomez dead. Herrera and his mother then waited two hours before calling 911, according to the prosecutor.
Harris County jurors delivered the sentence hours after convicting him of aggravated assault. Herrera could have received a life sentence.
In her impact statement, Gomez’s cousin told Herrera that she would never forgive him and that 25 years was not enough.
“That moment is always pretty powerful because it is a chance for the victim’s family or the victim to address their perpetrator directly,” Wood said.
“And so for Alex, who was Jackie’s cousin who she was very close to, to be able to know that he has to sit there and listen to and hear some of what they’ve had to experience over the last two years is pretty powerful.”
Gomez’s mother said off camera that she feels Jackie is with her all the time and is her guardian angel. She says she hasn’t changed a thing in her daughter’s bedroom.
Herrera’s attorney has already filed a notice to appeal.
Herrera’s mother, Melissa Martinez, is also charged in the case. Police say she gave the teens drugs and alcohol, booked the teens’ hotel room and lied to Gomez’s mother because she wanted them to “have a good time.”
Her trial is scheduled for next week on charges of providing drugs and alcohol to the underage couple. If found guilty, she could spend two years in prison.