A 23-year-old man who was in the country illegally and had a prior conviction has been indicted on a capital murder charge in the death of a 16-year-old Texas girl.
Rafael Govea Romero, 23, was indicted Monday by a Jackson County grand jury on capital murder charges in the Dec. 5 homicide of Lizbeth Medina, according to Crossroads Today.
Romero is in the Jackson County Jail with a $2 million bond. Although the indictment allows prosecutors to seek the death penalty, no announcement has been made if it will be sought when the case goes to trial.
The indictment said Lizbeth died after her head hit a firm surface and that Romero hit her with a hard object and repeatedly stabbed or cut Lizbeth.
16-year-old Texas cheerleader Lizbeth Medina’s home was targeted by an illegal immigrant, Rafael Govea Romero, 23, who broke into her home one morning as she was staying home from school on Dec. 5 and taking a bath.
Romero sexually assaulted her and bludgeoned her to death in… pic.twitter.com/cgVXWx3lEj
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) February 8, 2024
Romero entered the U.S. legally in 2018, but remained when his visa expired, according to the Victoria Advocate.
In April, he was sentenced to five years probation and fined $2,290 on a burglary charge.
Jacqueline Medina said that “as a mother I want the man to pay for what he did to my daughter.
“It’s very disturbing,” she told Fox News, adding that she will attend the trial.
“I don’t want to miss anything at all, not if I can help it, because my baby deserves justice, and I want to be part of it,” she said.
The indictment accuses Romero of murder while trying to commit burglary, robbery or aggravated sexual assault.
In Texas, capital murder is charged when an individual “intentionally or knowingly causes the death of an individual,” under special circumstances, according to the Tarlton Law Library. Those circumstances include homicide committed during the commission of kidnapping, burglary, robbery, aggravated rape or arson.
Lizbeth Medina had stayed home from school on Dec. 5, the day of her death, according to the Jackson County Herald Tribune. That evening, she missed a Christmas parade in which her cheerleading team marched.
She was found dead in the apartment she shared with her mother, fully clothed but soaked in the bathtub.
Lizbeth’s phone continued to communicate with her friends after her death. Police tracked the phone to the community of Schulenburg, Texas. Romero, who police said confessed to the girl’s death, was arrested there.
The family had reported to police in November that they suspected their apartment had been burglarized because strange things had been taking place, including some objects going missing.
Surveillance video from the apartment complex where the Medinas lived indicated that a man matching Romero’s description had been in the parking lot the night before Lizbeth was killed.