Texas teen on trial for 'satanic ritual' killing

Jose Reyes(Photo: Houston Police Department)

Opening statements in Jose Reyes' trial began Monday in Houston for the rape and murder of Corriann Cervantes.

Reyes, 18, and Cervantes, 15, were students at the same high school. Allegedly, Reyes and a 16-year-old accomplice committed the brutal crimes as part of a satanic ritual, the Daily Mail reports.

Reyes admitted his actions to authorities, and said that Cervantes was killed so his accomplice could "sell his soul to the devil."

Assistant Harris County District Attorney John Jordan told jurors that on February 5, the killers, Cervantes, and others had been drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana at a friend's house.

Afterwards, Reyes, his accomplice, and Cervantes allegedly went to a vacant apartment southeast of Houston to have sex. ADA Jordan said that while the sex was initially consensual, it escalated to a brutal rape and beating.

Cervantes was struck with an ashtray, window blind rod, and porcelain toilet tank lid repeatedly.

"There were pieces of porcelain embedded in her face," Jordan reported.

The teen was also stabbed dozens of times in the face and torso with a screwdriver, and one of her eyes was gouged out. An upside-down cross was carved into her skin.

Cervantes allegedly begged for her life while she was being tortured.

"What happened in that vacant apartment was sadistic. What will eventually happen in the... courtroom will be justice," Jordan said.

Cervantes' body was found in the apartment three days later by neighbours. She was half dressed with torn clothes, and religious items were placed around her.

Although Reyes was 17 years old at the time of the murder, he is being charged as an adult. He faces a life sentence with the possibility of parole after 40 years. His accomplice will stand trial at a later date.

Reyes initially made "some admissions" to his family members about Cervantes, and they reported the information to police.

"They did the right thing," Jordan said. "Clearly they were offended by his conduct."

The ADA noted that "there were some signs of devil worship and things of that nature" at Reyes' home.