A 20-year-old Texas man has been found guilty in the death of 17-year-old Jackie Gomez, his prom date.
The incident occurred May 16, 2014, when Eddie Herrera and Gomez went to an hotel room after their prom, media reports say.
The jury took around two hours before deciding to convict the 20-year-old for his part in the case. Herrera was found guilty of aggravated assault and sentenced to 25 years in prison, KTRK reported.
Herrera alleged that Gomez asked him to squeeze her neck during consensual sex, but then he passed out and woke up to find her dead.
The prosecution contended Herrera choked her during rough sex, causing deep bruising.
The couple received the drug hydrocodone and two bottles of whiskey from Herrera’s mother, Melissa Martinez, who is to be put on trial at a later date. Martinez told police she provided the drugs and alcohol to the teenagers because she wanted them to “have a good time,” according to KHOU.
“With a combination of the alcohol and the hydrocodone, the body was already so depressed that it could not recover from those choking injuries,” prosecutor Justin Wood said in court.
“This is just extremely sad because it could've all been prevented,” he added.
It remains unclear whether Gomez died from the choking or from an overdose.
However, the charge facing Herrera was not murder, but serious injury by choking–a class 1 felony.
During the sentencing phase, Wood told the court that Herrera called his mother upon finding Gomez dead. Then, the pair waited two hours before calling emergency services.
Alex, Gomez’s cousin, delivered a victim’s impact statement in court. She demanded that Herrera look at her while she spoke and added that 25 years was not long enough.
“That moment is always pretty powerful because it is a chance for the victim’s family or the victims to address their perpetrator directly,” added Wood. “And so for Alex, who was Jackie’s cousin who she was very close to, to be able to know that he has to sit there and listen to and hear some of what they’ve had to experience of the last two years is pretty powerful.”
Herrera’s attorney has filed a notice to appeal the decision.
Martinez will go before a judge next week.