SAN ANGELO, Texas (CVHP) — Jurors in Tom Green County found one man guilty of murder on Thursday, January 26, 2023 — two years after a shooting on a residential street in San Angelo.
Abel Rueda was found guilty of murder as alleged in an indictment in the October 2020 shooting death of Juan Quintana after a Tom Green County jury deliberated for hours on Thursday afternoon.
The defendant, Rueda, stood silently as the verdict was shared among those in the courtroom.
The trial of State of Texas vs. Rueda began on Monday, Jan. 23, 2023, when a jury of eight women and five men was chosen.
Multiple witnesses took the stand to testify regarding the death of Juan Victorio Quintana, who was shot in the chest with a shotgun on Oct. 24, 2020, at 613 E. 20 St. Both Wendy McCluskey, who was Rueda’s girlfriend at the time and Rueda testified to seeing Juan Quintana and Juan Garza at the Stripes on E. 19 Street.
Video surveillance obtained by the San Angelo Police Department showed the four at a Stripes convenience store at the same time. Quintana and Garza began walking away from the store at the same time Rueda entered the driver’s side of his black Cadillac and McCluskey entered the passenger seat.
Despite there only being three witnesses to the crime, two of which were McCluskey and Rueda, it is not clear who pulled the trigger on the morning of Oct. 24, 2020. Jurors listened to multiple witnesses, including McCluskey, Detective Eddie Chavarria, a resident who witnessed the flash from the firearm, and an audio interview between Rueda and detectives.
The defense brought up multiple pieces of evidence, including that the resident who witnessed the murder stated they saw a ‘light colored car’ that was either white or tan, not the black car that detectives determined was at the scene. The defense also disputed video surveillance and receipts that showed Rueda purchasing 12 gauge slug shotgun shells at Walmart the night before the murder. During the trial, forensic pathologist Dr. Luisa Florez shared with the court that four pellets from a 12 gauge buckshot were removed from Quintana’s left side.
The defense also questioned McCluskey over the intimate relationship that occurred between her and Quintana, along with a sex video that was possibly posted on social media before that night. McCluskey claimed that the video was not posted online but was sent to her from Quintana.
The state and Detective Chavarria made the jury aware that witnesses can forget details of a crime, such as the color of a car. Video surveillance from Stripes and the statements of Rueda and McCluskey helped the detective determine that the black Cadillac was the vehicle of interest. The testimony from McCluskey given in court and the interview between Rueda and Detective Chavarria placed both parties at the scene. Both McCluskey and Rueda claim that the other party was the one to pull the trigger when passing Quintana and Garza for a second time in the black Cadillac that morning.
Both McCluskey and Rueda shared the black, short barrel Winchester 12 gauge shotgun, which was Rueda’s, was dismantled and spread along the highways between San Angelo and other towns in Texas. The weapon was not recovered by law enforcement, according to Detective Chavarria.
The jury will decide Rueda’s sentence following the verdict. He faces between five and 99 years in prison.