Murder Victims Family Reacts to Life Sentence


A Taylor County Jury sentenced 18-year-old Emmanuel Diaz to life in prison for the murder of 58-year-old Jesse Cortinez on Halloween night in 2014. 

Evidence presented in court led the jury to believe Diaz intentionally ran over Cortinez with his car because he (Cortinez) wouldn’t buy alchol for Diaz and his friends.

After hearing the life sentence handed down, the Cortinez family was overcome with emotion.

“A little bit of relief,” said Jaime Cortinez, brother of Jesse Cortinez. “The healing process gets to start.”

It’s something the Cortinez family said they’ve waited for since November 1, 2014.

“There’s a big void there but at least with the decision now we can move forward and start the healing process,” added EZ Cortinez, brother of Jesse Cortinez. “There’s no victory for either one of us. Either my family or Mr. Diaz’s family. There are no winners in this case. Like I said we’re happy.”

Another person happy with the outcome of the trial is prosecutor Joel Wilks.

“I’m proud of our community, I’m proud of the citizen’s of Abilene, you know proud of this jury,” stated Wilks. “Just proud of them, proud of how they looked at the evidence and I’m proud of the family ‘s support Jesse Cortinez had.”

The support has been there through out this whole trial.

“By the presence of everybody today, you can tell the kind of guy Jesse was,” explained EZ Cortinez.

That person they knew is what the family says keeps them going.

“He had plenty of friends that he touched and he helped,” said Jaime Cortinez,  “and this helps us and it’s brought us closer.”

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