Last 2 suspects in Lufkin shooting death set to go on trial for capital murder

Jesus Vela (Source: Angelina County Jail)
Jesus Vela (Source: Angelina County Jail)

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A jury trial will be held Wednesday for the last two suspects in the Feb. 7, 2012 shooting death of Darnell Bennett. Jesus Vela and Gerardo Renteria will stand trial at the same time.

Both Lufkin men will stand trial in Angelina County's 217th Judicial District Court for capital murder.

Last February, Vela, Renteria, Osvaldo Hernandez, Rafael Orta, and Jacob Woodard were arrested in connection to Bennett's murder. Lufkin Police detectives believe that the five men went to Bennett's house hoping to rob him of marijuana.

Renteria, 21, is still being held in the Angelina County Jail, and his bond has been set at $500,000. Vela's attorney posted a $500,000 bond, and Vela was released from jail on Feb. 14, 2012.

In December 2012, Hernandez pleaded guilty to two lesser charges - aggravated robbery and tampering with evidence - and was sentenced to 25 years in prison. Earlier that month, an Angelina County jury found Orta guilty for his role in the murder. Because the state didn't choose to pursue the death penalty, he received an automatic life sentence.

One of the other suspects, Jacob Woodard, admitted to shooting Bennett. In early November, an Angelina County jury found Woodard guilty of capital murder and sentenced him to life in prison.

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