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July 17, 2013

Killer to spend life in prison

Man who was on parole at time of woman’s brutal homicide pleads guilty to capital murder in deal that condemns him to life imprisonment without release

By CHRISTIN COYNE

Avoiding a possible death penalty for the brutal killing of a Parker County grandmother in October, 29-year-old Hector Trejo pleaded guilty Tuesday morning to capital murder and was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole.

Trejo was on parole at the time of the killing for a violent robbery where he and two other men were convicted of pistol-whipping a man during a September 2008 home invasion.

Trejo, who’d been released on parole about a month earlier, killed 47-year-old Linda Surginer Preston Oct. 11 when she declined to lend him her car, according to the Parker County Sheriff’s Office. He then took the car and gave a friend a ride to Fort Worth.

“The court will rest easier knowing you are in a place where you can’t hurt anybody else in Parker County,” 43rd District Judge Craig Towson told Trejo shortly after sentencing him Tuesday morning.

Trejo was the son of Preston’s landlords and had been doing some work on the house where Preston and her husband, Patrick Preston, lived.

When Preston, who was extremely weak due to a debilitating illness, did not return phone calls that day, family members went to her home that afternoon to check on her.

Her husband found her body in the living room with her neck cut.

Initial attempts to locate Trejo were unsuccessful until investigators received information from the Fort Worth Police Department the following day.

A man calling himself “Carlos Hernandez” showed up to work as a day laborer at a Fort Worth church, where he reportedly confided to a church volunteer that he had killed someone and wanted to turn himself in.

Investigators determined that “Hernandez” was Trejo and tracked him to an apartment complex in Fort Worth, where he was arrested the day after the murder, according to prosecutors.

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