A Houston man was sentenced to life in prison for shooting his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend in the back with a shotgun, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced.
“This was a premeditated murder carried out by a jealous ex-boyfriend who couldn’t stand to see his ex-girlfriend with another man,” Ogg said. “This victim had a whole new life and new relationship ahead of him, and now his family and friends are left to deal with the heartbreak of losing their loved one.”
Santos Perfecto Melendez-Granados, 35, was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison Wednesday by a Harris County jury for shooting 45-year-old Carlos Pineda to death on Sept. 23, 2021, in an apartment complex parking lot.
Pineda and his girlfriend, who had recently broken up with Melendez-Granados, were walking to her apartment complex dumpster around 10 p.m., when she pointed out a black Toyota Tundra with paper tags in the parking lot that she recognized as belonging to her ex-boyfriend.
As they got closer, she identified Melendez-Granados as the driver and told Pineda they should leave. But as Pineda walked toward the truck, Melendez-Granados pulled up to him and shot him twice in the back with a shotgun, then drove away.
Another witness, who was visiting the apartment complex and called 911, told investigators that she had parked next to a black truck and saw a man walk toward the truck and then get shot with what sounded like a “big gun.”
Deputies with the Harris County Precinct 4 Constable’s Office and the Harris County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene and reviewed surveillance video that showed the black truck backing into a parking spot next to the dumpster and turning on its headlights as Pineda walked toward the truck.
The truck then pulled out and stopped where Pineda was standing. A flash can be seen on the video as Pineda was shot from the driver’s side. The truck then drives away.
After a two-day search, a task force located Melendez-Granados and attempted to pull him over. He evaded officers in the vehicle then fled on foot, but was quickly apprehended.
Assistant District Attorneys Andrew Figliuzzi, who is a chief in the DA’s Trial Bureau, and Erandy Marquez, also in the Trial Bureau, prosecuted the case.
At trial, prosecutors played a recorded phone conversation between Melendez-Granados and his ex-girlfriend after the murder, in which he says, “I lost my mind for you.”
His ex-girlfriend testified that she had only lived in the apartment complex for two months and that she didn’t know how Melendez-Granados had found her. However, she stated that she found a GPS device on her vehicle after the murder that she believes he placed there to track her.
“Pineda left his home in El Salvador in hopes of the American dream,” Marquez said. “Unfortunately, that dream was cut short by the defendant. Thankfully, a jury has returned a guilty verdict that echoes what this community is all about – hope and justice.”
“The defendant shot an innocent man in the back in the darkness of night,” Figliuzzi said. “Now a jury has delivered justice to his face in the light of a courtroom.”
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