PHARR, Texas (ValleyCentral) — An online petition is circulating calling for the release of the three Pharr teenagers facing charges in connection with the murder of a man accused of inappropriately touching a young relative. The petition has garnered over 294,000 signatures.

“They are children, they are 17 or 18 and whether you think what they did was right or wrong, I think we can all agree that they shouldn’t spend the rest of their lives in prison.” , said Carlos Eduardo. Espina, the creator of the change.org petition named Justice for Alejandro, Christian and Juan.

Espina tells ValleyCentral he wants change for three teenagers Alejandro Treviño, Christian Treviño and Juan Eduardo Melendez, who all face charges in connection with the murder of 42-year-old Gabriel Quintanilla.

“They face capital murder charges which here in Texas carry a minimum sentence of life in prison without parole, so if they are convicted of those charges, they will spend the rest of their lives in prison. jail,” Espina said.

This case has garnered national attention and the petition to Governor Greg Abbott continues to grow. Espina said he wants the governor to take a closer look at the matter.

“A lot of the time I just want a reassessment of the case to see if those charges can be narrowed down to something less and potentially trying to broker the best possible deal for them,” Espina said.

Jesse Villalobos, a local defense attorney with the Villalobos Law Firm, explains how petitions like this can bring about change, but only to some extent.

“The Governor, after the process is complete, if he chooses to do so, could grant a pardon, it is within his legal authority, but it is not within his legal authority to intervene at the very beginning and ask someone to be freed,” Villalobos said. .

He went on to add that cases across the United States have shown the impact of political pressure, which we can come to see here.

“It certainly puts pressure on the local authorities for one, lowering the bails and two, when they deal with the case, how they handle it,” Villalobos said.

Villalobos said that while he understands this case is tragic, in order to have order in society, you have to go through the justice system and people should not take the law into their own hands. According to Espina, this approach has repeatedly failed, which is why he is calling for change now.

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