Oak Cliff restaurateur’s body was found 9 days after 2005 kidnapping
A gay former Dallas Independent School District teacher is standing trial on capital murder charges in connection with the 2005 kidnapping and slaying of a local restaurant operator.
Jose Alberto Felix, 30, faces life in prison if convicted of the killing of 30-year-old Oscar Sanchez, whose family owns La Calle Doce in Lakewood and El Ranchito in Oak Cliff. Sanchez was abducted on Jan. 18, 2005, during a staged fender bender near his home in Oak Cliff.
A ransom was demanded for his return, but the kidnappers failed to show up to collect the money. Sanchez’s body was found nine days later in a South Dallas field.
Felix was arrested in Chicago five days after Sanchez was kidnapped before the alleged killer boarded a scheduled flight to Guadalajara, Mexico.
Edgar “Richie” Acevedo, 26, a gay former waiter at one of Sanchez’s restaurants and Felix’s alleged accomplice, was arrested in Mexico in October 2005 and extradited to the U.S. in April 2006. He is awaiting trial on capital murder charges. He is being held on $1.5 million bond.
Acevedo initially escaped arrest because he had fled to Guadalajara with the expectation Felix would join him.
Part of the prosecution’s case against Felix involves evidence of a bloody struggle found by police a day after Sanchez’s kidnapping in a house shared by Felix and Acevedo in Duncanville.
Police said Felix gave them information after his arrest that led to the discovery of Sanchez’s body.
Although Felix and Acevedo are both gay, they reportedly were not partners. They are both natives of Mexico, and they both arrived in the U.S. around 2000.
The Dallas Morning News reported shortly after the killing that Sanchez was seen several times in gay bars with Felix and Acevedo, but Sanchez’s family has denied that the restaurant owner was involved with Acevedo outside of work.
Sanchez was married and had a 2-year-old daughter at the time of his death.
The newspaper also reported that Acevedo, whom it has described as “flamboyant,” hatched the kidnapping plot to pay for sexual reassignment surgery.
He often dressed as a woman when he went to gay bars, introducing himself as Pamela, according to the newspaper.
Felix’s lawyer, John Read, claims his client was duped and threatened into taking part in the kidnapping, and that the trial will reveal sensational new evidence.
A third person may have been involved in the kidnapping plot, he said.
The trial began on Wednesday, Aug. 22, and it is expected to run for at least one week.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 24, 2007