Texas' top criminal appeals court has ordered a man convicted of killing an 11-year-old Fort Worth girl to be removed from the state's death row.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled on Wednesday that Juan Segundo does not qualify for execution because of an intellectual disability under a recent Supreme Court standard. The appeals court reformed his death sentence to life imprisonment with parole possible, the only alternative sentence for capital murder available at Segundo's 2006 sentencing by a Tarrant County jury.
The jury found Segundo guilty of the rape and strangulation murder of Vanessa Villa.
Segundo was arrested some 19 years after the 1986 crime, when a DNA match tied him to the cold case slaying. The child was raped and strangled at her home while her family ran errands.