Life or Death

FamilyCrime, Law and JusticeDeathCrimeJails and PrisonsJustice SystemRichard Franklin

Families of the victims scurried out of the Collin County courthouse, refusing to talk to reporters during the punishment phase of this capital murder case.

The jury's task in the coming days will be to decide if Raul Cortez should be sentenced to death or life in prison.


That same jury deliberated for nearly six hours yesterday and convicted Cortez of killing Austin York, Matthew Self, Rosa Barbosa and her nephew Mark Barbosa nearly five years ago. Defense attorney Richard Franklin remains optimistic and has one hope, "Hope for not death; hope for a life sentence."

In court today, Cortez's ex-wife said he has a dark side; in one case, beating a co-worker with a brick. In another, losing his temper just because he didn't like the way a man looked at him. She also talked about his gang affiliations and tattoos on his body, denoting the number of people he's killed. The defense argued she was making it up.

A psychologist who's done research on inmates and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice testified the prison system would be able to control Cortez and he'd be a low risk inmate.

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