Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Two Mexican Citizens Face Mandatory Life Sentences for Southlake Murder

The following is a press release from the Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District Texas.

FORT WORTH, Texas — After a trial lasting more than two-weeks, a federal jury has convicted two Mexican citizens on federal charges related to the murder of Southlake, Texas, resident, Juan Jesus Guerrero Chapa, at Southlake Town Square on May 22, 2013, announced U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas.

Jesus Gerardo Ledezma-Cepeda, a/k/a “Chuy” and “Juan Ramos,” 59, and his cousin, Jose Luis Cepeda-Cortes, 60, were each convicted on one count of interstate stalking and one count of conspiracy to commit murder for hire. Each offense carries a maximum statutory penalty of life in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. Cepeda-Cortes was also convicted on one count of tampering with documents or proceedings, which carries a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.

Another defendant charged in the superseding indictment, Ledezma-Cepeda’s son, Jesus Gerardo Ledezma-Campano, 32, pleaded guilty prior to trial to one count of interstate stalking. He is also a Mexican citizen and testified for the government at trial.

All three defendants are scheduled to be sentenced on September 22, 2016, by U.S. District Judge Terry R. Means, who is presiding over the case.

On May 22, 2013, at approximately 6:47 p.m., Juan Jesus Guerrero Chapa was ambushed and shot multiple times with a 9mm pistol while seated in his Range Rover that was parked at Southlake Town Square. A Toyota Sequoia pulled up behind the Range Rover, a gunman got out of that vehicle, walked up to the Range Rover and fired several times through the window at Mr. Chapa, who died at the scene. Nearby, Mr. Chapa’s wife was not harmed.

The government presented evidence during trial that from approximately March 1, 2011, until May 22, 2015, the three defendants traveled in interstate and foreign commerce from Mexico to Southlake, and elsewhere, with the intent to kill, injure, harass and intimidate Mr. Chapa, and that as a result of that travel, Mr. Chapa was killed. In addition, the government presented evidence that Ledezma-Cepeda, Cepeda-Cortes and others conspired to travel from Mexico and elsewhere to Southlake and elsewhere, with the intent to murder Mr. Chapa. Further, the government presented evidence that from approximately May 23, 2013, until September 5, 2014, Cepeda-Cortes took steps to destroy evidence related to the investigation that was on his computer.

The defendants, according to evidence presented at trial, were acting on orders from a man in Mexico, Rodolfo Villarreal Hernandez, known as “El Gato,” or “The Cat,” who wanted Mr. Chapa killed as revenge for his father’s murder.

The defendants exchanged information via email to locate Mr. Chapa – exchanging personal information about Mr. Chapa and his family, as well as information regarding vehicles associated with them and photographs of the Chapa residence in Southlake.

The defendants used various means to locate and track Mr. Chapa and members of his family. Cepeda-Cortes purchased surveillance cameras that were placed in various locations in Mr. Chapa’s neighborhood. In addition, while in the area, the defendants purchased and rented several vehicles that allowed them to frequently change vehicles and use non-descript rental vehicles to avoid detection by Mr. Chapa and his family. They placed automobile tracking devices not only on their vehicles, but on vehicles owned and operated by Mr. Chapa and his relatives, including the Range Rover Mr. Chapa was in when he was murdered.

The government presented further evidence that after the defendants located Mr. Chapa, “El Gato” sent two assassins from Mexico to Southlake to kill Mr. Chapa. One of them was the gunman who killed the victim on May 22, 2013, and the other drove the Toyota Sequoia.

The investigation was led by the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration, with assistance from the Southlake Police Department, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Texas Department of Public Safety, Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office, Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office, Fort Worth Police Department and Grapevine Police Department.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joshua Burgess and Aisha Saleem are prosecuting the case.

The City of Southlake Senior Activity Center Hosts a Lone Star Murder Mystery Night on Friday, May 16, 2014

Murder Mystery DinnerA Lone Star Murder Mystery presentation, Derailed & Departed, is coming to the Southlake Senior Activity Center on Friday, May 16, 2014. Doors will open at 5:00 p.m., dinner will be served at 6:00 p.m. and the show will begin at 7:00 p.m.

Lone Star Murder Mysteries’ comedy shows are loosely based on historically accurate characters that lived and worked in Fort Worth back in the 1800’s. The production for this private show will take place among the dining tables.  Audience members can be pulled into the production unexpectedly at any time. Each table will compete against one another to solve the mystery. Come help Marshal Jim Courtright figure out which one of these zany characters murdered ol’ Horace Grimsby.

The cost for the event is $15.00, which includes a BBQ dinner and the show. If you are interested in signing up for this exciting evening (participants must be 55+), you can register at the Southlake Senior Activity Center located at 307 Parkwood Drive.  Please Contact (817) 748-8315 if you would like more information.

Homicide Investigation Update from Police Chief Steve Mylett

 For Immediate Release: May 31, 2013

Today the Southlake Police Department has confirmed two items related to the murder of Juan Jesus Guerrero-Chapa:

1.         The Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office has reported they retrieved several bullet fragments from the body of Juan Jesus Guerrero-Chapa. It appears the weapon used in his murder was a 9mm handgun.

2.         The Texas Department of Public Safety confirms the suspect vehicle involved in this homicide is a Toyota Sequoia manufactured between the years 2001-2004.

Several reports recently generated in the media indicate Mr. Guerrero-Chapa was an attorney with ties to Mexican criminal organizations and additionally he provided information to federal authorities. The Southlake Police Department is unable to confirm these reports and will continue to only report factual information as it develops in the course of this investigation.

The Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office, The FBI Evidence Response Team, The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms forensic unit continue to examine evidence and as final reports are received by the Southlake Police Department additional information will be released to the public regarding this homicide.

The joint investigative team continues to follow leads in order to identify the individual (s) responsible for this violent crime and encourages anyone with information to contact Southlake Police Detective Karl Moore at 817-748-8127 or Tarrant County Crime Stoppers at 817-469-TIPS (8477).