Murder case that began with gay slur ends with not guilty verdict

Juarez, Bryan mug shot (06-16-93)
Juarez, Bryan mug shot (06-16-93)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Tuesday, a Travis County jury found Bryan Juarez, 23, not guilty of murder in the death of Christopher Lee Burton.

Juarez called 911 to report he accidentally shot someone on Aug. 3, 2015 in the 2800 block of Lyons Road, just north of the North Pleasant Valley Road and East Seventh Street intersection.

According to the arrest affidavit, Juarez approached Burton with a gun after Burton greeted him with a gay slur. A witness told officers the two men got into a struggle and the victim knocked the weapon out of Juarez’s hands. Juarez got the gun back and the two continued to struggle. That’s when gunshots rang out.

Juarez told the 911 operator, “I accidentally shot someone, I’m so sorry… He attacked me, I shot him in self-defense.” During the investigation, the witness told officers that the slur the victim used was his typical, playful way of greeting people.

The shooting took place outside of LifeWorks, a local non-profit helping the youth and young adults who had a rough upbringing find jobs and housing.

“Our first priority after a major tragedy such as this, is just simply to be here for the residents,” executive director Susan McDowell said at the time. “Many of the residents who live here grew up in foster care, grew up in violence or family trauma and an event like this in such a tight knit community really is re traumatizing for them. We had counselors here last night, we will have them here today and for as long as we need to make sure the residents can move forward.” provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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