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Friday, November 18, 2022

Who Killed the Barajas Children and Murdered Jose Banda?

     On the night of December 7, 2012, the pickup truck carrying the Barajas family--David and Cindy and their four children--ran out of gas on a dark narrow country road near Alvin, Texas thirty miles southeast of Houston. Because they were 100 yards or so from their home, Mr. Barajas asked his boys, David who was 12 and 11-year-old Caleb, to push the truck the rest of the way. At eleven o'clock, when they were within 50 yards of their house, another vehicle plowed into the back of the pickup. The crash killed David instantly and seriously injured his brother who died later that night in the hospital. Mr. Barajas suffered minor injuries. His wife Cindy and their two daughters were not hurt in the accident.

     Deputies with the Brazoria County Sheriff's Office, when they looked inside the vehicle that slammed into the Barajas pickup, found 20-year-old Jose Banda. Having been shot once in the head, Banda was breathing but unresponsive. (I don't know if he had been shot from the passenger's or driver's side of the car.) The officers found him slumped over in the front passenger's seat. He died in the hospital a few hours later. Deputies searched both vehicles and the area surrounding the accident without finding a gun. There were indications that Mr. Banda had been drinking.

     While the county coroner ruled Jose Banda's death a homicide, the person who shot him was a mystery. If David Barajas or his wife had shot Banda for killing their two boys, where was the gun? Could someone besides Banda have been behind the wheel of vehicle that crashed into the pickup? Could that person have shot Banda and fled the scene with the murder weapon before being spotted by members of the Barajas family? This would explain why the deputies did not find the murder weapon.

     In speaking to a reporter, Brazoria County sheriff's deputy Dominick Sanders said, "We are not sure if Banda was shot before or after the wreck." (If shot before the wreck, the murder might have caused the accident. If this is what happened, was the shooter inside the car or along the road?)

     Deputy Sander did not say if David Barajas and his wife had been subjected to gunshot residue tests to determine if they had recently discharged a firearm. Moreover, the sheriff's office did not indicate if Mr. Banda had been shot at close range, or if a shell-casing has been recovered from the scene. (If the area around Banda's entrance bullet wound featured gunpowder staining, he had been shot from a distance no farther than eighteen inches. The more powder staining, the closer the range.)

     A week after the fatal accident and criminal homicide, the deceased boys' parents, in hiding following Facebook threats, had not been questioned by the police. (This was not good investigative technique.) According to the boys' uncle, Gabriel Barajas, his brother remembered the accident in a "blur."

    Tests revealed that Jose Banda had twice the legal limit of alcohol in his blood at the time of his death. Forensic gunshot residue tests showed that Mr. Barajas had not fired a gun that night.

     On February 10, 2013, notwithstanding a lack of evidence in the case, a Brazoria County grand jury indicted David Barajas, Jr. for murder of Jose Banda. If found guilty, Barajas faced up to life in prison. Upon his arrest Mr. Barajas maintained his innocence.

     On August 27, 2014, after a one-week trial, the jury found David Barajas not guilty. Without a murder weapon, an eyewitness or a confession, the prosecutor simply did not prove his case beyond a reasonable doubt. Moreover, the community supported and had sympathy for the defendant from the start.


  1. Today August 27,2014 David Barajas was found not guilty of murder. Mr. Banda had been drinking g that night his bac was twice the legal limit. The police never recovered a gun and Mr. Barajas had no gun shot residue on him.

  2. It seems like they should be looking for a 2nd crime scene I think Jose was not the driver I think he was already shot before the crash happen

  3. I also agree that they should be looking for a 2nd crime scene. Is it possible that there were three men including Banda in the car and they had just left the scene of an incident where Mr. Banda was shot in the passenger seat? This would make sense, knowing the vehicle Mr. Banda was a passenger in, had their headlights off and was fleeing from the original crime scene when the vehicle struck the Barajas family vehicle.

    1. I at first agreed with this scenario and wonder why his family fled the scene of such a horrific accident and did they even call 911 for help for their family member they admit to fighting with me barajas but why and would this altercation along a fact of David being in shock and afraid after such a horrific accident and being jumped cause him to grab a fun I feel if he he shoot he had fun on him or in truck b no time to run home to retrieve but time to grab at scene then dispose of and return to sin

  4. The gunshot was heard & reported on the 9-1-1 call so he couldn't have been shot BEFORE the wreck. Beyond that I don't know.

  5. I just finished the first hour of an interview with Dr. Phil and it was very revealing. Mr. Barajas and Cindy his wife both stated that they had NOT asked the children to leave the truck, and Cindy insisted that she had tried to stop the younger of the two from going out to help their dad. The gunshots on the 911 tapes provide a timeline. The call came in at 9:35, the first police officer arrived at 9:37 on the scene. The person making the 911 call had to be about 5 feet from the car when the first gunshot was fired. According to acoustics, the bullet being fired would have been at least the level of his voice. It was not. The bullets were fired from at LEAST a half mile away. It appears there may have been a second gunfight going on somewhere in the area 1-2 miles away. So the gunshot heard on the phone was NOT the one that killed Mr. Banda's death. There is little doubt that Barajas could not have gone home in the time of the accident and got his gun, then returned and killed Mr. Banda, and then gotten rid of the weapon and proceed to do CPR on his dying son. The entire concept that Mr. Barajas was the killer does not fit with the forensics. He was taken to jail at the scene and he had no gunshot residue on his clothes or hands. Cindy was not checked.
    My personal feeling is that Mr. Banda was involved in a gunfight and was shot earlier-shortly earlier-and then, the other people at the scene who witnessed his shooting, fled the scene and believed they were still in danget when they hit Mr. Baraja's truck. They were driving down the road he was hit on at an extreme speed and without their lights on. Shortly after the accident two of his relatives came up to Mr. Barajas approximately 2-4 minutes after the crash and started to attack him. Neither checked in the car, they immediately began beating on Mr. Barajas. They backed off when the police showed up. There is no way that Mr. Barajas could have been attacked, gone home, got the weapon, came back, and shot the driver, then left to hide the weapon, and get back to the truck in 2 minutes.
    He was not guilty, but the car with the young people in it and Mr. Banda's relatives know who did do it.
    The police did a LOUSY, LOUSY investigation of this crime. The saw the father, figured he was the only one with a motive, and immediately focused all of their attention on him. Fortunately the jury saw this and found him Not Guilty.