AUSTIN (KXAN) — A local mother, who admits to her part in the beating death of a teenager, is headed to state prison.
Christina Reynero pleaded guilty Wednesday in exchange for a five-year prison term.
She, along with her two sons and another teen, were charged in connection with the death of 16-year-old Jorge Louis Medina in Southeast Austin in November 2012.
Reynero’s attorney explains why the case took so long to resolve.
“In this situation, it was complicated even more so by the fact that you had several co-defendants, each with different levels of culpability,” said defense attorney Mindy Montford. “The state was proceeding under the theory that my client, in particular the mother, was more of a party to this offense, not necessarily the person who caused the fatal blow to the victim.”
One of Reynero’s sons, Juan Jose Reynero, was a student at Crockett High School at the time but is now serving 16 years in prison. Her other son is serving his sentence in a juvenile facility, and the third suspect, Arthur Estrada, got 12 years in state prison.
In-Depth: The night Medina was killed
Medina died Nov. 9, 2012, from injuries he sustained in a fight that happened just after 6 p.m. Thursday in the 2000 block of Uphill Lane. Medina was taken to Dell Children’s Medical Center in a private car, according to police.
Medina’s then-girlfriend, 16-year-old Ana Ramirez, told KXAN at the time that she was there when everything unfolded.
“We were just chilling, and he was telling his friends, ‘They’re going to try to jump me. They’re going to try to jump me,’” said Ramirez.
Four women were reportedly fighting with Ramirez before she said things took a terrible turn when a group came from behind a fence and proceeded to attack them.
She was able to get away and into a car, driving it toward the crowd that was beating up on Medina. In the process, she hit Christina Reynero, who was later treated at St. David’s Medical Center.
Ramirez said she then went to help Medina, but it was too late.
“They were beating him,” she said. “And so I drove back up here, and by the time I got back up here, they were already gone. And I just told his friends to put him in the car, and we drove to the hospital.”
According to the arrest warrant affidavits released shortly after the incident, the four people arrested in the case were part of an attack that included sticks, boards and a pole used against Medina.
Neighbors called police about several people beating Medina in the streets. Medina reportedly tried to run away and make it back to his car but fell to the ground where three men attacked and beat him until he went limp.
“I couldn’t even imagine any person having no heart to do that to my nephew,” said Medina’s aunt, Helen Rivera, back in 2012. “They said they had metal bats. They had pipes. They had boards. And then they said that when my nephew was already dead in the street, even 6-, 7-year-old, 8-year-old children were actually hitting him with sticks and rocks and stuff.”
By the time the police arrived, the crowd had scattered. They were called about a half-hour later to Dell Children’s Medical Center, where Medina was being treated for life-threatening injuries to his head and ultimately died early the next morning.
Witnesses led police to the four suspects. They told police that several people, including women, continued to beat Medina — even after he had been knocked unconscious — at least 12 times after he was knocked out and was kicked in the head by the 14-year-old boy.
Family members believe Medina was jumped by an angry mob over an earlier argument between his mother and another woman.
“This was between me and her, not my son. My son had nothing to do with this,” said Jorge’s mother, Maria Huitron, in 2012. “This was between me and her. This was no fight. They jumped my son. He loved everybody and we loved him. He was a good kid.”
At that time in 2012, Medina’s death was the 27th homicide of the year in Austin.