Prosecutors open in capital murder trial

This is not an ordinary trial, Cameron County District Attorney Armando Villalobos said as he began his opening statement to the jury in the case of Wilfredo Padilla, charged with capital murder in the 2003 slaying of a Harlingen woman.

The state will delve into the inner workings of the Mexican Mafia, a notorious prison gang of which Padilla is alleged to be a member, Villalobos said.

The jury will hear testimony that the gang is almost like an army, with a constitution and firm leadership hierarchy.

“You will hear evidence that they like lonely desolate places, how they dispose of people in lonely, desolate places,” Villalobos said.

One such lonely, desolate place, he said, is spot under a transmission tower northwest of Raymondville where Jo Ann Chavez’s body was unearthed in 2005, two years after she went missing.

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