A fourteen year old girl and a sixteen-year old girl were walking home to meet an 11:30 p.m. curfew when their path unfortunately took them to a railroad bridge near where gang members were initiating a member in 1993.
The teen-age girls had left a party and never dreamed they were walking into a gang as deadly as a den of water moccasins.
Peter Cantu, the leader of the gang, participated in the gang-raping and the forcing of the young girls to perorm oral sex, for more than an hour.
The victims were ultimately murdered after being kicked, beaten and strangled.
Peter Anthony Cantu, 35, was executed Tuesday by lethal injection at 6:27 p.m. in Huntsville, Texas.
This brutal murder by gang members illustrates the need for more gang injunctions designed to prevent gang members from meeting and committing violent acts such as happened 17 years ago in Houston.
Wichita Falls District Attorney Barry Macha argued in front of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals recently in support of the Wichita Falls gang injunction.
We will never know if these senseless murders of Jennifer Ertman, 14, and Elizabeth Pena, 16, would have been prevented by a gang injunction forbidding the members from associating with eath other back in 1993.
Macha, who has long been a strong advocate of the gang injunctions, has led the Wichita County District Attorney’s office in obtaining at least three different gang injunctions in different sections of town to hopefully protect innocent people like these two girls who didn’t deserve the fate they received at the hands of this violent gang.
Cantu was the first of five of the gang members to be tried, convicted and sentenced to death in Harris County.
He is the third of this gang to be executed.
A day after these atrocious murders occurred, Cantu’s own brother was upset to hear gang members bragging about how much fun they had with the girls.
He provided the tip to police which led to the arrest of six gang members.
Other gang members executed were Derrick O’Brien in 2006 and Jose Medellin in 2008.
Two other members were originally sentenced to death, but their sentences were later changed to death when the United States Supreme Court outlawed executing defendants under age 18.
A sixth defendant was 14 at the time of the attack and is serving a 40-year prison term.
Hopefully, the further use of gang injunctions in the future will be allowed by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals so lives may be saved.
Kinley Hegglund of the Wichita Falls City Attorney’s office and Barry Macha have pursued a worthwhile goal in attempting to curb the gang violence through the drafting and enforcing of gang injunctions.
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