HOUSTON - The attorney appointed to represent the man accused of driving drunk and killing a teen on prom night, while running from police is addressed the public Thursday.
Houston attorney Emily Detoto and attorney Paul Matthew Morgan were appointed to defend 26-year-old Edin Palacios-Rodas on charges stemming from the crash Saturday that killed 18-year-old Jocelynn Valero and injured her 18-year-old boyfriend, Moises Avila.
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In a press release, Detoto gave the following statement:
"This is a tragic situation that has adversely affected many lives. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the deceased and injured. As difficult as this situation is, I have been tasked with defending my client and will do so. It is also important to note that due process is afforded to all in our judicial system and reaching conclusions without complete facts is not only preliminary but dangerous. It is irresponsible to make generalizations without full information. Any matters regarding the citizenship status of Mr. Palacios are irrelevant to the facts of this case. We ask that the investigative and legal process be allowed to play out before making any final judgments. We would also caution those who seek to make this case about the immigration issues our country faces to think of the ramifications before doing so."
Prosecutors said Palacios had a blood alcohol level of more than twice the legal limit when he hit the car carrying the two teens on their prom date.
Palacios made his first court appearance Monday to hear the evidence against him. He's charged with felony murder and evading arrest.
Detoto said Palacios is scared, and has injuries from the accident. She said he plans on pleading not guilty. His next court date is June 27.
According to Detoto, Palacios is a construction worker who was promoted before the accident happened. She said she believes Palacios ran from police because he didn't want to be pulled over for DWI.
The Valero family released a statement that read:
"There is no worse and more dangerous way to dismiss the life-threatening implications of drunk driving than by not holding this man responsible for HIS actions. Drinking and driving is a decision that was made by an adult, and as life continues to teach us, every decision and action has a consequence. We, Jocelynn's family, will not be the only ones that have to deal with loss- if he, as an adult, is not capable of holding himself responsible for his actions and decisions, then he should not be awarded the freedom to make anymore life-ending decisions for others and their families. We hope the courts are using his statement as further evidence of his inability to make smart decisions- he is obviously someone that undermines the responsibilities that come with personal liberties."