Norma Hurtado

Horribly tragic news tonight out of Austin, where authorities say a man killed his daughter’s girlfriend and the girlfriend’s mother because he was upset that his daughter was in a lesbian relationship. The Austin American-Statesman reports:

Jose Alfonso Aviles, 45, has been charged with capital murder and was arrested early this morning in Bexar County by the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force, said Lt. Gena Curtis. Aviles lives in Austin, but was found in San Antonio, police said.

Aviles’ daughter had been dating 24-year-old Norma Hurtado for several months, which was the source of feuding between the Aviles and Hurtado families, Curtis said.

The daughter told police that she was “in a lesbian relationship which her father did not approve of.”

Aviles and another Hispanic man, who has not been identified, went to the Hurtado’s home at the 7100 block of Dixie Drive late Monday and knocked on the door, Curtis said. Moments later, Aviles’ daughter, who was in the home, heard gun shots and found that Hurtado and Hurtado’s mother, 57-year-old Maria Hurtado, had been shot, police said.

Both women died at the scene, police said.

KVUE reports that Aviles’ daughter was in the back of the home when the shootings occurred. She heard the shots, found the bodies and called 911. Police are still trying to locate the second man involved in the killings. Watch the report above.

The San Antonio Express-News has more on Aviles’ arrest:

Officials had been searching for several hours for a Nissan Altima that Aviles was believed to have been driving and found it in a car port in the Bexar County community of St. Hedwig early Tuesday, Hogeland said.

About 30 San Antonio police officers and U.S. Marshals, backed by canines and SAPD’s helicopter Blue Eagle, surrounded Aviles around 3:30 a.m., officials said, and he surrendered.

Police say it will be up to the District Attorney’s Office whether to prosecute the case as a hate crime. Although Travis County has a lesbian district attorney, Rosemary Lehmberg, we’d say it’s unlikely that will happen. Texas’ hate crimes statute includes “sexual preference.” However, under the statute, there is no penalty enhancement available to prosecutors if the crime is already a capital felony. In other words, the DA’s office would have nothing to gain from prosecuting the case as a hate crime, but it could increase their burden of proof.

Stay tuned to Instant Tea for updates.