SAN ANGELO, TX – A Tom Green County jury found Abel Rueda guilty of murdering Juan Quintana following four days of testimony Thursday afternoon.
As we reported all week, Rueda was on trial for the Murder of Juan Quintana. Quintana was murdered back in Oct. 2020. He was shot in the chest with a shotgun on north San Angelo.
Throughout the week, the jury has heard testimony from detectives, forensic experts, Rueda's co-defendant Wendy McClusky, and even a jailhouse confession from Rueda. On Jan. 26, 2023, the closing arguments were given on both sides.
For the defense, they told the jury to focus on two critical details. The first is that the jury should not consider Rueda's confession. During this interview, defense attorney Rae Leifeste reminded the jury that Rueda asked for a lawyer on two separate occasions. He says the San Angelo Police Department not providing one or not stopping the interview violated his constitutional rights.
The second flaw in the prosecutor's approach was to have Rueda's alleged accomplice Wendy McCluskey take the stand, accused Leifeste. He reminded the jury that after Rueda had been arrested in Howard County, she had stolen his car and run off with another man. Leifeste also accused McCluskey of not only lying to officers but lying on the stand as well. He told the jury that McCluskey is being offered a deferred adjudication plea deal for her testimony. No court documents show that deal as of Jan. 26, 2023.
As for the state, District Attorney John Best told the jury reminded the jury to use common sense when making their decision. He claims that with the evidence provided and the jury's decision making skills, they should make the right decision and find Rueda guilty.
Now the jury will take as long as they need to make a decision. San Angelo LIVE! has reporters in the courtroom, so stay tuned for the verdict. For more on this case, click here.
UPDATE 4 P.M.
The jury has found Rueda guilty of murder. Rueda has elected for the jury to asses the punishment. They will begin the punishment phase in the morning. Rueda is facing a penalty of 5-99 years in prison.
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