DONNA — A Donna family stands accused of stabbing a Mexican man more than 50 times and setting his corpse on fire Saturday afternoon.
Guadalupe de Leon Acuna, 37, was charged Wednesday morning with plotting the attack on her boyfriend, Jose Guadalupe Fiscal.
Hidalgo County sheriff’s deputies responding to a report of a vehicle fire Saturday discovered the man’s charred body on the ground beside a burned truck along Valley View Road near Donna Lakes, according to the probable cause affidavits in the case.
De Leon and her son, Antonio Rodriguez de Leon, 19, faced murder charges during an arraignment hearing Wednesday at the Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office Detention Facility. Guadalupe de Leon’s brother-in-law, Juan Salazar, was also charged with murder in connection with the attack. Bond was set at $1 million for each of them.
A dive team will help deputies search for more evidence near the scene of the slaying, said Sheriff Lupe Treviño. Authorities believe the trio dumped a plastic bag containing the weapon used in the killing, bloody clothing and a can of kerosene used to douse Fiscal.
Treviño said the woman killed her boyfriend because he threatened to end their relationship. Guadalupe de Leon allegedly lured the victim to the Donna Lakes area, where investigators believe her son and brother-in-law beat him and stabbed him to death.
“This was not a crime of passion,” the sheriff said. “This was a premeditated, planned and very savage murder.”
Murder with no sudden passion is a first-degree felony. If convicted, the trio could face up to life in prison.
Authorities initially believed Fiscal had been stabbed about 20 times, but an autopsy report showed the body had at least 50 puncture wounds. The victim also suffered facial trauma, including a broken nose and jawbone.
Treviño said the woman and her son confessed to the crime, implicating a fourth suspect who allegedly removed evidence from a vehicle used in the attack. Esekiel Gamez, 19, was charged at Wednesday’s arraignment with one count of tampering with or fabricating evidence. His bond was set at $250,000. Gamez is the boyfriend of Guadalupe de Leon’s daughter.
The charge against Gamez is a third-degree felony. If convicted, he could face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
According to public records, Salazar has one prior felony conviction for marijuana possession.
Officials believe Fiscal, 37, of Weslaco, had a permit to be in the United States to work in Donna at his uncle’s cabinet shop.
The sheriff said the case was unusual in that men are typically the perpetrators in cases of extreme domestic violence involving adults.