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Man found guilty of murder for 2022 double homicide in North Austin, sentenced to 35 years

Serena Lin
Austin American-Statesman

Editor's note: This story has been updated with a statement from the Travis County district attorney's office.

A Travis County jury has found a man guilty of a 2022 double homicide in North Austin and sentenced him Tuesday to 35 years in prison.

Edgar Alejandro Barahona, 22,聽was convicted on two counts of murder for the shooting deaths of Heliodoro Arias Flores, 28, and Juan Carlos Loarco Villatoro, 26. On the night of Jan. 23, 2022, police responded to multiple calls about a shooting in the parking lot of Ojos Locos Sports Cantina. Villatoro, who was shot in the head, was pronounced dead at the scene. Flores, who suffered multiple gunshot wounds, was taken to Dell Seton Medical Center and pronounced dead several hours later.

Witness testimony led investigators to Barahona, who was at the restaurant with his younger sister, a friend and two other people. According to Barahona's arrest affidavit, one witness told investigators that he was sitting in his car in the parking lot when shots were fired. The witness knew Barahona and identified him as the shooter to police.聽

During the trial, defense attorney Carlos Rodriguez argued that Barahona had shot Flores and Villatoro in defense of himself and the people he was with. Rodriguez described Barahona, who was 19 years old at the time of the shooting, as a frightened "kid" who "did what he needed to do to repel the threat." Rodriguez characterized Flores and Villatoro as 鈥渢wo penitentiary gangsters, tattooed up."

Rodriguez said that Barahona only shot after one of the victims struck Barahona's friend.

But prosecutor Dominic Selvera pushed back against this version of events. He said that there was little evidence of a physical altercation between Barahona's party and the two victims. Even if a punch had been thrown, Selvera said, it would not have justified shooting and killing Flores and Villatoro.

Prosecutors focused on Barahona's conduct after the shooting, showing the jury various text messages and videos from Barahona's phone that they described as taunting the victims. Prosecutors claimed that Barahona returned twice to the scene of the shooting and sent boastful text messages to friends.

The trial began May 7 and lasted five days. The jury deliberated for several hours Monday before finding him guilty on both counts.

鈥淥ur office is grateful to our dedicated staff and law enforcement (partners) who worked tirelessly to hold the defendant accountable and seek justice for the victims,鈥 Travis County District Attorney Jose虂 Garza said in a statement. 鈥淲e hope these verdicts bring closure and peace to the victims鈥 families.鈥