Man Arrested for Allegedly Shooting 2 Lesbian Teens in S. Texas
Authorities arrested a man Friday whom they believe shot a young lesbian couple nearly two years ago, NBC News reports.
U.S. Marshals and Texas Rangers in the San Antonio suburb of Helotes arrested David Malcolm Strickland, 27, and his wife Laura Kimberly, 23, last week in Portland, Texas, where the attack occurred on June 23, 2012.
Mollie Olgin, 19, died from the shooting attack in the small Southern Texas town. Her girlfriend, Kristene Chapa, then 18, survived the attack.
Both teens were shot in the head, but Chapa survived. Olgin, a student at Texas A&M Corpus Christi, was pronounced dead at the scene, however. Though some suspected the case to be a hate crime, local police at the time said there is no evidence that the shooting occurred because of the teens' sexual orientation.
Chapa did not know her girlfriend was dead until her family told her in the hospital.
"She didn't know about Mollie for the longest time, but we finally decided to tell her," Chapa's brother, Hilario Chapa, said.
Portland Police Chief Gary Giles said he hopes the arrests gives the families "some closure knowing that this person is taken off the street."
He added: "It is one day before the two-year anniversary. We’ve been working very hard to make sure we get him as soon as possible. A series of fortunate events has led us to this point and I’m just very happy that we could help in - at least at this point - in bringing him to justice."
Robert R. Almonte, United States Marshal for the Western District of Texas, said Strickland is "a stone cold killer who thought he got away with murder, but will finally pay for his crime."
"My sympathies and condolences go to the victims and their families who had to endure this wicked act of violence," he added.
According to NBC News, the shooter allegedly forced the teens down a steep inclined in the Violet Andrews Park in Portland, bound them and shot them in the head. A couple found the women the next morning.
The gunshot initially left Chapa, now 20, unable to sit or stand, as the bullet pierced part of her brain that controls movements on her left side. She’s since been able to recover, however, but she is still is going to physical rehabilitation.
"It will never take back the pain and hurt he did to our families. And it won’t bring Mollie back," Chapa told the Corpus Christi Caller-Times.
She also took to Facebook and said: "Thanks everyone for the texts, messages, and calls but my family and I are just kinda in shock and just shook up. We need time to let it sink and just process the news we’ve waited on for 2 years. Please keep us in your prayers."
Strickland faces charges of capital murder, aggravated assault with a weapon and aggravated sexual assault while Kimberly faces charges of tampering with evidence.
Giles says the investigation is still active and that "we have a lot of evidence to still continue to process. There are still a lot of things that that we cannot release but we’re confident that we do have our person."