Houston, TX- Unless you’ve lost someone in a drunken driving accident, it’s hard to understand the rage someone feels towards the at-fault driver. Most would let the criminal justice system decide a drunk driver’s punishment, but one Texas man took matters into his own hands, and now he is on trial for murder.
In their opening statements, the prosecutor trying the case said David Bajaras fatally shot drunken driver Jose Banda in December 2012 after Banda struck and killed his two sons. In their opening statements, prosecutors described Bajaras’s actions as a “public execution,” saying Banda deserved “severe punishment,” but
KHOU reports that the drunken driving accident took place on December 7th as the Bajaras family was returning home on rural road in Alvin, Texas, a town about 30 miles south of Houston. The family’s truck ran out of gas just a 100 yards from their house, so Bajaras and his two sons, 11 year-old Caleb and 12 year-old David Jr, got out to push it.
While they were pushing the truck, Jose Banda, who was also returning home, slammed into the rear of the truck and the two boys, killing one of the boys instantly, and fatally wounding the other. Authorities say Banda, who was traveling with two passengers, was drunk at the time of the crash.
Bajaras’ wife, infant child and 8 year-old daughter were in the cab of the truck and saw the grizzly scene unfold.
During the first day of trial, the court hear 911 one calls describing the scene. One person described seeing one of the boys’ body torn in two. Dispatchers testified they heard a single gunshot 7 minutes after the accident occurred and just moments before police arrived, KHOU reported.
Other witnesses at the scene told 911 operators that there was a man shooting at another and saw Bajaras approaching Banda’s car, concealing something at his side.
The two teens riding with Banda said they saw the two men fighting after the accident. Bajaras told them to call 911 and they say he disappeared after that.
Prosecutors allege Bajaras left the scene of the accident and retrieved a gun from his house, which he used to gun down Banda. Their evidence, however is weak, no one saw Bajaras shoot Banda, the weapon used cannot be found, and Bajaras’ gunshot residue tests came back negative. No witnesses can identify Bajaras as the shooter.
Bajaras’ criminal defense attorney, Sam Cammack, said his client never left the scene and he was just a grieving father tying to offer aide to his sons and grapple with the tragedy that had just unfolded.
If convicted, Bajaras faces life in prison.
Bajaras’ actions, if what the prosecutors allege is true, are understandable, especially when you consider the horrific scene, but they aren’t justified. We may not always like the way the justice system works, but everyone, even drunken drivers who cause fatal accidents, deserve the opportunity to present a DUI defense on their behalf.