Lurid details of killings disclosed in court testimony

The Brownsville Herald, Mar. 19, 2003
BY JENNIFER MUIR, The Brownsville Herald

BROWNSVILLE, March 19 — A Brownsville couple charged with killing their children allegedly choked and decapitated two daughters, washed the bloody mess, then had sex before slaughtering their 1-year-old son, police investigators said in court Tuesday.

Testifying at a bond hearing for 22-year-old John Allen Rubio and 23-year-old Angela Camacho, who have been held without bail behind county bars since calmly confessing a day after the March 10 slayings, three Brownsville Police Department investigators retold the morbid story from the couple’s statements.
Angela Camacho is, 24, accused of helping her common-law husband suffocate, stab and behead her three young children.

State District Court Judge Menton Murray denied bail after the two-hour hearing for Camacho, a Matamoros native living illegally in the United States, and Rubio, a former Porter High School student and ROTC cadet. The chain-clad couple sat on opposite sides of the 103rd state district courtroom, as Camacho bowed her hair over her face.

Both parents were charged on March 12 with three counts each of capital murder and could face the death penalty for their part in the gruesome killings that occurred in a rundown apartment house in a central Brownsville neighborhood.

According to police testimony, Camacho told investigators that the children were killed so they would stop suffering and that Rubio said he was a male prostitute.

After they were arrested March 11, the couple told police they thought Julisa Angela Quezada, 3, John Esthefan Rubio, 1, and Mary Jane, 2 months, were possessed, according to police detective Sam Lucio, who took Rubio’s statement.

“They used the words ‘witches’ and ‘witchcraft,'” Lucio said, noting that the couple never claimed evil spirits influenced them. He said family members claimed the couple was interested in witchcraft, although they didn’t seriously practice it.

Then, in a second statement on March 12, Camacho recounted their motive for the crime. According to Thomas Clipper, head investigator for the grisly murder, Camacho said they acted to “stop the suffering of the children.” Camacho apparently told police that they were financially unable to care for their babies.

“Rubio advised us that he is a male prostitute, and that is how he earns his money,” Clipper said. “Camacho didn’t work.”

Clipper said a former roommate — a transvestite known as Lorena Hernandez — stopped by the couple’s ramshackle downtown apartment hours before the children were believed to have been killed. Hernandez allegedly told Clipper that Rubio answered the door smelling of paint, and that he abruptly told him to leave the apartment.

“Lorena said Rubio had been sniffing a lot of paint,” Clipper said.

Both parents apparently told investigators that Camacho held Julisa and Mary Jane down by their legs while Rubio smothered, choked, stabbed and decapitated them, Clipper said.

“Camacho said the children fought and cried as she held them down,” Clipper testified. “Then they attempted to clean the crime scenes.

“Camacho took the children to the kitchen and washed the bodies with water and placed the heads in buckets of water. Then they placed the heads in smaller bags and put them in bigger bags with the bodies.”

Clipper said the couple stashed the bodies in a closet, scrubbed the bloodstained carpet and began soaking their crimson clothes in their small bathroom. Then, they bathed, had sex and moved the two children’s bodies to their bedroom, hiding them behind a crib, he said.

“They spoke about the third child and determined they were going to have to kill him, too,” Clipper continued.

He described how Camacho and Rubio allegedly murdered their 1-year-old son two hours after killing his sisters.

“She (Camacho) said that they got tired after decapitating the child and they took a break,” Clipper said. “They placed his head in a bag and put the body on the bed, and took a break.”

The exact time of the day that the children were killed was not divulged, but police believe the murders took place on the night of March 10 or the next morning.

On the evening of March 11, Rubio’s brother and another woman found the bodies, ran outside and reported the incident to a patrol officer who was driving by, Clipper said.

Detective Chris Ortiz was the first law enforcement officer to go inside the Imperial Apartments on March 11.

“I entered the house and discovered one baby lying on the bed naked,” Ortiz said. “The condition of the baby was so clean, I didn’t know if it was a human body, so I touched the body to make sure.”

Ortiz described the apartment as a filthy one-bedroom habitation with clothes piled on the floor.

Lucio described a “bloody mess” in the kitchen and large pools of blood in the bathroom. He said the back door was nailed shut and that he saw a large knife on the table.

Clipper said that Rubio and Camacho had planned to bury their children and leave the country.

“They were going to get a shopping cart and roll them to the city cemetery and bury them there,” Clipper said. “Camacho advised they were going to flee into Mexico.”

Now, Camacho and Rubio are in solitary cells at separate Cameron County jail facilities, where they are being checked every 15 minutes to ensure they don’t commit suicide, according to Sheriff Conrado Cantu.

At the hearing, Bruce Tharpe, their court-appointed attorney, requested DNA, toxicology, blood, skin and hair examinations from the defendants. Assistant District Attorney Karen Betancourt said the requests need to be more specific.

Tharpe also filed a motion in court for Camacho and Rubio to undergo independent medical examinations. Apparently, one of the defendants had been prescribed medication behind county bars, and has not been receiving it, Tharpe said. He asked the judge to order that they receive prescribed medications, but Murray said he was confident the county jail system would see to it without an order.

Rubio was transferred to the Carrizales-Rucker Detention Center in Olmito, and Camacho to the county’s women’s ward, where they await an examining trial and grand jury indictment.

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This post was last updated: Sep. 10, 2009