HOUSTON – A man accused of hiding in a woman's southeast Houston home before brutally attacking her appeared in court Monday night.
Moises Ayala, 25, faced a judge for the first time at 11 p.m.
He is charged with the capital murder in the death of 23-year-old Zuleika Hernandez.
Police said Ayala is the victim's brother-in-law.
Family found Hernandez on April 24 in the bathroom of her home in the 6600 block of Sherwood after they said they had not heard from her in days.
Hernandez's sister said she knew something was wrong when her dogs were loose in the neighborhood. They said Alaya laid in wait, then ambushed Hernandez.
Police said Hernandez put up a fight. Investigators found blood in three different rooms, according to police.
Police said witnesses saw Ayala on April 22 arriving at Hernandez's home in a black SUV between 4:30 and 5 p.m. Witnesses reported seeing a white 1999 Ford F-350 pickup truck parked in her driveway.
Hernandez was seen putting her dogs back in the yard and going in her home. Police said the truck left the house a short time later.
Police found the abandoned pickup the next day in the 6400 block of Mesa.
According to court documents, Ayala admitted to killing Hernandez in April in what police called a "bloody, violent attack."
Ayala told investigators he was upset with Hernandez for sending his brother to jail.
Police said there is a history of family violence between Hernandez and her husband, Ayala's brother, who was in the custody of immigration and police at the time of her death.
Ayala also told police he stole Hernandez's husband's truck and tools, with the hopes of selling them.
Ayala is in jail. No bond was given.