PHARR, Texas (KETK) – Two brothers and their friend were charged in connection to murder of their stepfather who was accused of inappropriately touching his 9-year-old daughter, according to the Pharr Police Department.

42-year-old Gabriel Quintanilla was killed in South Texas in the city of Pharr. On Jan. 23, the following teenagers were arrested and booked into jail:

  • Alejandro Treviño, 18, of Pharr
  • Christian Treviño, 17, of Pharr
  • Juan Eduardo Melendez, 18, of Pharr

Alejandro was charged with aggravated assault/family violence and engaging in organized criminal activity. Christian was charged with capital murder, aggravated assault/family violence and engaging in criminal activity. Melendez was charged with capital murder, aggravated assault and engaging in criminal activity.

Quintanilla’s body was found on Jan. 20. The next day detectives interviewed Alejandro. Authorities learned that a fight happened at a trailer park at 1201 E. Moore Road that involved Alejandro, Christian and Quintanilla, according to the Chief of Police Andy Harvey.

Quintanilla was able to leave the trailer and walk away. He was walking near a road, then Christian caught up to him and they started fighting again. The other two teenagers also got involved, and it became a fight of three against one, said law enforcement. Christian had also been using brass knuckles.

Quintanilla was left at the scene, and he was “still conscious and walking,” said law enforcement.

Alejandro was then dropped off at his house and the other two went to Melendez’s house. They picked up a new car and decided to go and look for Quintanilla again, according to police. They found the man walking on Veterans Road and a third assault happened.

During this incident, the teenagers “severely beat him,” said authorities. Then, they allegedly kidnapped him and put him in the back of a white Ford F-150 in the bed and left him in a field in McAllen. Quintanilla was still breathing, but he later died in the field.

Quintanilla also had a previous warrant out of Pharr for a separate case for continual sexual assault of a child from 2014-2016. Police were notified of this in 2019. Detectives went to look for Quintanilla years ago, but were not able to locate him. He was also wanted for assault/family violence.

Police said the death of Quintanilla involves capital murder because the 42-year-old was kidnapped and some property was removed from him. Police Chief Harvey also said the teenagers have cooperated with law enforcement.

“It’s tragic all the way around. That’s what makes this case so difficult,” said Harvey.

A petition was also started on Change.org to set the Treviño brothers and Melendez free. 32,683 people have signed the petition so far.