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Thursday, January 15, 2009

New details emerge about murder scene, fake confessions

Juror and courtroom spectators learned shocking details about the scene of the Truett Street murder and false leads that led police on a wild goose chase.

By Danny Gallagher, McKinney Courier-Gazette

Jurors in the Raul Cortez trial learned the gruesome details of the crime scene he and Eddie Ray Williams allegedly left behind, and the long trail of false leads left by other suspects that threw McKinney police off course for more than four years.

Collin County prosecutors opened their case in the punishment phase of Raul Cortez's trial by laying it out in chronological order, starting with the day of the murder. Rosa Barbosa, 40, had worked her shift at the Cliff's Check Cashing store on W. University Avenue on March 12, 2004 and made plans with fellow employee and friend Nilvia Jasso to take a walk in Towne Lake Park. Jasso closed the store later that evening and went by her home to pick her up, but no one came to the door. She later tried calling her home, but no one answered.

Later that weekend, Jasso learned that Barbosa had been killed, along with her nephew Mark, 18-year-old Austin York and 17-year-old Matthew Self.

Laurie Wilson, Austin's mother, testified that her son went to his best friend Leonard Barbosa's house to play video games and hang out until his 11:30 p.m. curfew.

Keith Self, Matthew Self's father, said Matthew took his father's pickup truck to meet with Leonard and Austin. He also had an 11:30 p.m. curfew that both parents said they always honored.

Wilson said her son never called that night and were woken up by the sound of the doorbell around 4 a.m. Four sobbing teenagers told them they heard Austin had been shot and killed.

Self said his wife, Nancy Self, was also concerned that her son had not called or returned, so Mr. Self went looking for his pickup truck in the Barbosa's neighborhood in McKinney. Police officers arrived at the Self's home later and told them their son had been flown to Baylor Medical Center of Dallas. Mr. Self said the family later make the difficult decision to take Matthew off of life support.

Police officers first responded to the alarm call at the Cliff's Check Cashing business on W. University Avenue, then the 911 call from Robert Barbosa, Rosa's nephew, who discovered the bodies in Rosa's Truett Street home. Robert said he could hear Matthew gasping and wheezing for air.

Collin County Medical Examiner Dr. William Rohr said Rosa had a plastic zip tie tightened around her neck and strips of red duct tape over her mouth and wrapped around the top of her head over her eyes. Mark had two gun shots wounds to the head and Austin had three to the head. Dallas County Medical Examiner Dr. Lynn Salzberger said Matthew had a single gunshot wound to thr head. [Mark Godsey]

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