Gay former teacher sentenced to life in prison for participating in kidnapping, killing of gay restaurateur
A gay former Dallas Independent School District teacher was convicted of capital murder this week in connection with the kidnapping and slaying of Dallas restaurant owner Oscar Sanchez in 2005.
Jose Alberto Felix, 30, was automatically sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday, Sept. 11, after his lawyer failed to convince jurors that he was also a victim of the crime. His lawyer, John Read, argued that the native of Mexico was an unwilling participant, forced by his roommate into participating in the disposal of Sanchez’s body and other subsidiary elements of the crime.
Read, who had claimed during the trial that there was a third hooded man involved in the kidnapping, said that he remains convinced of Felix’s innocence and plans to appeal the verdict and to file a motion for a new trial.
Felix’s roommate, Edgar “Richie” Acevedo, 26, also a native of Mexico, is being held on $1.5 million bond in the Dallas County Jail and will face trial later. Acevedo, who reportedly often dressed as a woman when he went to bars and was known by the name of “Pamela,” worked for one of the Sanchez family’s restaurants.
The Sanchez family owns the popular restaurants La Calle Doce in Lakewood and El Ranchito in Oak Cliff.
Testimony in Felix’s trial included that of a member of the Aryan Brotherhood who is awaiting trial on two capital murder charges. Dale Clayton Jameton said he met Acevedo in jail, and that the Mexican native told him that he had been romantically involved with both the murder victim and the victim’s uncle.
Jameton said Acevedo claimed the uncle participated in the kidnapping and murder of Sanchez. The motive for the kidnapping was to demand a $3 million ransom that could be used for Acevedo and the uncle to run away together, the witness testified.
Sanchez’s family denied that the victim or his uncle were gay. The uncle was with family members at the time Sanchez was abducted, they said.
The Dallas Morning News reported after Sanchez’s killing that the victim had reportedly been seen in an Oak Lawn gay bar, the Hidden Door, with Acevedo and Felix on more than one occasion.
Family members denied that Sanchez, who was married and had a two-year-old daughter at the time of his death, had ever associated with Acevedo outside of work.
Sanchez was abducted 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 the kidnapping. He was preparing to board a flight to Guadalajara, Mexico.
Acevedo, who left for Mexico before Felix, was arrested in October 2005 and extradited to the U.S. in April 2006.
Police found evidence of a bloody struggle in the Duncanville home that Felix and Acevedo shared. Felix reportedly told police where to find Sanchez’s body.
Felix and Acevedo reportedly were not romantically involved. They both arrived in the U.S. about 2000.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 14, 2007