There are some murders that are so carefully planned that police spend months or years trying to piece together clues. There are others in which the suspected killers, through carelessness or lack of foresight, practically walk themselves into the jail cell.
The slaying of 31-year-old Jose Orta-Sanchez is decidedly in the latter camp. The man police say shot him at Smith's Drive-In in South Dallas on the night of December 4 pulled the trigger in full view of a surveillance camera. Plus, one of his accomplices gave his phone number to a Smith's employee he was trying to hook up with, leading police straight to his East Dallas apartment.
Juan Carlos Pineda, 28, had actually moved since he had gotten the phone, but not very far. When investigators showed a photograph to the complex manager, they said Pineda had relocated from Apartment K to Apartment E, which is where they found him.
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Pineda waived his Miranda rights, police say, and gave a full statement admitting to his role in the murder. He and two other friends had been at Smith's Drive-In that night and had gotten into a fight with another group of men. The brawl spilled into the parking lot, which is when one of his friends retrieved a shotgun from their car and shot Orta-Sanchez. Pineda admitted that he'd been the getaway driver.
Pineda also gave police the name and address of his friends, Pedro Rios-Aguilar, 32, and Angel Rodriguez-Padilla, 29. The cops tracked both men down on Sunday at their apartments. Rios-Aguilar admitted to being at the bar and pointing the shotgun at Orta-Sanchez, according to an arrest affidavit. Rodriguez-Padilla said he took the gun from Rios-Aguilar and pulled the trigger.
All three men are charged with murder.
Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.