HOUSTON (AP) — Family members of a murdered 16-year-old girl tried to attack her ex-boyfriend during a court hearing Tuesday after he had pleaded guilty to shooting her nearly two dozen times while she was walking her dog.
Frank DeLeon, 19, agreed to plead guilty to murder in the January 2022 death of Diamond Alvarez in exchange for a 45-year prison sentence as part of an agreement with prosecutors.
Alvarez was shot 22 times as she walked her dog in southwest Houston. She had planned to meet DeLeon, who was 17 at the time, to talk with him after finding out he had been in another relationship while they were still dating, prosecutors said. Alvarez’s family members had previously said DeLeon had texted her shortly before she was killed and had asked her to meet him in a field near her home.
During a court hearing Tuesday, Alvarez’s mother, Anna Machado, took the witness stand to give a victim impact statement.
Video of the court hearing shows Machado finishing her statement and walking toward DeLeon, who was sitting at a table with his attorney. A bailiff blocks her path before she reaches the teen.
Suddenly, Alvarez’s uncle rushes to the front of the courtroom toward DeLeon. The uncle is quickly restrained, but DeLeon’s mother then comes and starts shoving Alvarez’s mother.
A woman pulls DeLeon’s mother to the ground before bailiffs pull the two apart and secure the courtroom.
After the court hearing, Machado told reporters she had been very angry and “I pray to God that he’ll remove that anger from me one day.”
“It was wrong of us and I apologize for that. I apologize to the judge, apologize to them … and I’m so sorry. This should never happen,” Machado said.
DeLeon’s trial had been set to begin this week, but he decided to accept the plea agreement, prosecutors said. He must serve at least half of his 45-year sentence before being eligible for parole.
“This is a heartbreaking domestic violence case of a young girl who was murdered by someone she dated,” Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said in a statement. “Our office has devoted significant resources, including investigators, prosecutors and public service campaigns to raise awareness about the incredible danger of intimate partner violence to try to end horrible cases like this.”