January 23

This Day in History

Crime

Jan 23, 1991:

Videotaped murder leads to convictions in Texas

Darrell Lunsford, a county constable in Garrison, Texas, is killed after pulling over a traffic violator. His murder was remarkable because it was captured on a camera set up in Lunsford's patrol vehicle. The videotape evidence led to the conviction of the three men who beat, kicked, and stabbed the officer to death along the East Texas highway.

Lunsford pulled over a vehicle and turned on the video camera installed on his front dashboard. He appeared to have asked the three men in the car to open the trunk. However, when the men got out of the car they tackled Lunsford and stabbed him in the neck before driving off. Later that night, Reynaldo Villarreal was picked up by officers as he was walking a few miles from the murder site. His brother, Baldemar, and another man, Jesus Zambrano, were also arrested a short time later. At the trial of the three men, the jury watched the videotape and all were convicted.

The videotaped murder of Lunsford has ushered in a new era. Video cameras have become ubiquitous in police cars, and have proven to be a potent law-enforcement tool.

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