Teens found guilty in racing death trial
HOUSTON (KTRK) -- A jury returned guilty verdicts on three manslaughter charges for each of the two teens accused of killing a mother and her children while street racing.
That Harris County jury deliberated for nearly five hours Tuesday. They started at 9am after closing arguments concluded yesterday. Now the same jury will decide on their punishment.
The victims' family told us they have some closure now.
It was an emotional courtroom as teenagers Christopher Yovino and Brett Taylor learned a jury found them each guilty on three counts of manslaughter. But the survivors of Mayra Torres and her two children are calling that guilty verdict 'justice.'
"We were thinking all day today has been holding our thoughts, holding our emotions, but finally justice was served," said Marcela Nuno, the victims' relative.
Prosecutors say Yovino and Taylor were racing their vehicles down North Gessner in September 2010. Yovino's Chevy Tahoe crashed into Mayra Torres' minivan. Torres and her 14-year-old son Christopher Nuno died at the scene. Her 6-year-old daughter Katia died in the hospital the next day.
"We were so happy for Katia, for Mayra, and for Christopher (Nuno) that justice actually came out. The truth came out and this is what it is," said Marcela Nuno.
After the jury's verdict was read, Yovino could be seen holding his head down and rubbing his eyes. Now it's up to the jury to determine he and Taylor's punishments.
"They never apologized. They never ever gave us sympathy, condolences, not at all in these 11 months. It's not that we really want them to apologize at all. It's just that they never showed any shred of remorse toward what happened," Marcela Nuno said.
Prosecutors say the teens were playing Russian Roulette with their cars when they caused the crash that killed a mother and her children.
In closing arguments Monday, prosecutors said the teens were driving more than 90 mph just before the accident. But the teens took the stand, testifying that they weren't racing and that they were driving 50 to 55 mph, which is between 10-15 miles over the posted speed limit.
Traffic deconstructionists found the teens had been going 93 miles per hour in a posted 40 mph speed limit area -- something Taylor denied on the stand.
Taylor said in court Monday, "My horsepower is at 145. The Tahoe is at 302, I believe. There's no way I can keep up with that."
It was Yovino's Chevy Tahoe that collided with Torres' minivan, but prosecutors argue, under Texas law, Taylor was just as guilty because he was part of the alleged criminal activity.
The punishment phase of this trial began late Tuesday afternoon. The teens face up to 20 years in prison.
Stay with Eyewitness News and abc13.com for the latest on this story.
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