Justice was dispensed yesterday in Williamson County. How many times has that sentence been written? Thousands.
Down a dark, county road northeast of Austin on April 17th of 2010, an ambush was set. Three thugs: Bobby Burks Jr, Veronica Evonne Ortiz, and Isabel Michelle Gonzales had hatched a plan to send the women into an Austin nightclub, choose a victim, lure him into the county, and rob him.
As these plans often do, the robbery turned into a murder. Bobby Burks Jr, by all accounts was a ruffian. The father of nine children, Burks had a long criminal record including assaults, and a drive-by shooting, all before he was legally old enough to order a drink in a bar. As a grown man, he was convicted of assaulting his wife (3 times) and breaking a fellow inmate’s jaw in a prison dust-up.
Burks hit the big time in April of 2010 when he conspired with Ortiz and Gonzales to lure a man into the wild, and rob him.
The man, Raul Vizueth Torres and his cousin Jorge Castaneda had been partying with the ladies at an unnamed East Austin nightclub. With a promise of more partying if the men would give them a ride to Taylor, the quartet set out for Williamson County.
Feigning an illness, Veronica Evonne Ortiz, coaxed the men into pulling Castaneda’s Chevy Tahoe over on fm 1660 near Coupland, Texas.
Bobby Burks Jr was waiting, his Ford Mustang parked nearby.
The ambush, as they often do, did not go as planned. Perhaps Castaneda and Torres fought back. But, this much is clear: Burks Jr produced a gun and shot Torres in the head. Taking aim at Castaneda, he fired and missed.
During the wild scramble that followed, Castaneda was able to flee the scene with his cousin in tow. He drove to St. David’s Medical Center in South Austin but his efforts were in vain. Torres was dead.
The wheels of justice slowly turned and Bobby Burks Jr went to trial in February of this year.
Honor amongst thieves.
Prosecutor Jane Starnes offered a plea deal to Veronica Evonne Ortiz, and Isabel Michelle Gonzales. In exchange for their testimony, they would not be charged with capital murder. They took the plea deal and yesterday Veronica Ortiz received a 35-year sentence while accomplice and sister, Isabel Gonzales, got 15 years.
Bobby Burks Jr is serving life without the possibility of parole.