Editor's note: the video in this story is from the day of the crime - prior to the arrest
Jesus Leobardo Gallegos, 29, is charged with murder in the killing of Rita Ann Acosta, 43, HCSO records show.
The murder happened in the early-morning hours of Nov. 6.
Sheriff’s deputies were called to a home in the 7200 block of Rimwood, in the Sheldon area. They said a homeowner found his niece, Acosta, beaten and unresponsive. Paramedics responded, but the woman was pronounced dead at the scene, likely from “blunt force trauma.”
At the time of the killing, the uncle said several people had come and gone from his home in the overnight hours, and the victim was last seen arguing with her boyfriend at about 1 a.m. The uncle also told investigators he had allowed his niece to live at his home.
Homicide investigators later tracked down the boyfriend, Gallegos, and arrested him on Monday on multiple warrants. On Wednesday, he was charged in the beating death of his girlfriend, county records showed.
He is booked in the Harris County Jail. A probable cause hearing that was scheduled for Thursday morning appears to have been delayed as the suspect tested positive for COVID-19.
Heartbreaking year of domestic violence in Houston area
“We know these situations can escalate to fatal violence at any time," activist Beverly Gooden told KHOU 11 News earlier this year after a string of domestic violence crimes.
“Getting out saved my life," Gooden said.
Gooden experienced domestic violence first hand.
“We know these situations can escalate to fatal violence at any time," Gooden said.
She knows how hard it is to leave.
“You have someone telling you 'I'm going to change. I'll never do it again,' things like that, and so you believe that despite what the behavior may show," Gooden said.
She said there are warning signs that victims can look out for:
- Extreme jealousy
- Increased arguments
- Visibility of weapons
“My ex-husband moved me across the country, away from everyone that I knew," Gooden said.
Gooden made a plan. She was able to escape. She now makes bolt bags to help others get out.