Teens charged in death of stepfather who allegedly abused sister due in court

Posted at 8:08 AM, February 22, 2024 and last updated 6:41 PM, February 23, 2024

EDINBURG, Texas (Court TV) — Two brothers accused in the fatal beating of their stepfather after he allegedly molested their sister appeared in court on Thursday, where future trial dates were scheduled.

three men in booking photos side by side

Alejandro Trevino (L), Juan Melendez (C) and Christian Trevino (R) are charged in the death of Gabriel Quintanilla. (Hildalgo County Court Records)

Brothers Christian and Alejandro Trevino and their friend Juan Melendez are charged in the death of Gabriel Quintanilla. Christian and Juan are both charged with capital murder, while Alejandro is charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Christian had been the first of the three scheduled to stand trial, but that date was delayed at Thursday’s hearing.

Quintanilla was found beaten to death in McAllen, Texas, on Jan. 20, 2022. Days later, police announced they had arrested the three suspects at a news conference in nearby Pharr, Texas. On Jan. 25, 2022, Andy Harvey, then the chief of the Pharr Police Department, revealed that the beating death began with allegations of sexual assault.

Harvey said that Alejandro and Christian confronted the victim after hearing allegations that Quintanilla had touched their 9-year-old sister inappropriately. After arguing inside of a trailer, Quintanilla allegedly left and began to walk away. The two brothers then met up with their friend,  Juan, and the trio allegedly caught up to Quintanilla and attacked him.

After the alleged assault, Alejandro was dropped off at home before Christian and Juan returned looking for Quintanilla a third time — this time with brass knuckles. Harvey said that the third assault ended with the men throwing the victim into the bed of their pickup truck and driving him to McAllen where they dumped him.

Police said the victim was breathing when Juan and Christian left, but because they allegedly stole items from him and kidnapped him when he was put in the truck, they were both charged with capital murder.

“There’s tragedy all around us,” Harvey said at the news conference. “There’s tragedy around the nine-year-old, the mother who lost her husband but also we have two – three young men who are in jail and who knows what their future will hold … it’s tragic all the way around.”

After the suspects were arrested, police revealed that Quintanilla had been wanted on a 2019 warrant for continuous sexual abuse of a minor. That case was unrelated to the allegations of touching the Trevinos’ sister.

At Thursday’s hearing, Christian’s trial was scheduled to begin on May 20, 2024.