A Houston man has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole following his conviction for capital murder in the 2015 shooting deaths of three people at an auto dealership.
Following more than three hours of deliberation by jurors, James Tinsley IV listened to his fate as Judge Brad Hart announced the verdict. Joey Contreras took to the witness stand and scolded the killer who fatally shot his two brothers and adult nephew at their family-owned dealership.
In his victim impact statement, Contreras talked about how his family of nine siblings grew up in a poor environment, remarking on the fact that they were working together when they were murdered in 2015.
“This was a business that catered to people who were down on their luck, who needed a second chance,” Contreras said about their family-owned business. “As they were there, working, you were scheming and creeping and planning to destroy a family.”
The Harris County Attorney’s Office had originally asked for a death sentence, but did not seek it at trial.
“If you live another 50 years, you may wonder if the State of Texas really did you a favor by taking death off the table,” Contreras said. “There’s a special place in Hell for you and that’s all you have to look forward to.”
In the trial, jurors were told that Contreras’ two brothers and one nephew were discovered by a mechanic in a pool of blood in the office at the dealership. The two brothers were found dead, and the nephew died the following day from his injuries.
Tinsley’s defense attorney, Casey Keirnan, said her client was shocked by the verdict.
“He’s maintained his innocence since the very beginning,” Keirnan explained. “He’s in the holdover cell weeping. He’s crying. He’s stunned.”
The defense argued that Tinsley was not at the dealership when the murders occurred, but was on a bus in the area. On the other side, prosecutors claim that Tinsley was very upset that a vehicle he had purchased at the dealership had been repossessed, and sought his revenge by killing the three men and attempting to burn down the dealership.