‘I nearly collapsed’: Texas mother said she learned of suspect’s confession in her son’s 2013 murder while grocery shopping

Pasadena Police say the suspect, Benjamin Reyes, walked into the police station and confessed over the weekend.

PASADENA, Texas – A 32-year-old Pasadena man is accused of capital murder in a case nearly 10 years old.

Pasadena police say Benjamin Reyes walked into the police station over the weekend and confessed to the July 4, 2013 killing of Julian Maldonado.

“It never leaves you, that hope,” Maldonado’s mother, Evangelina Murn, said. “My inner gut always said sooner or later I know I’m going to get that call.”

She spoke to her only child in the hours before he was killed, making plans for Independence Day weekend. Her son was at home alone.

“He was in his own house minding his own business,” Murn said. “He wasn’t harming anybody.”

There were no signs of forced entry, she said, but he was dead from a bullet to the back of his head. For years, she’s questioned various scenarios.

“I was absolutely horrified,” Murn said.

She maintained hope into 2014 when the Crime Stoppers reward increased to $10,000, but that didn’t result in any new leads.

The case went cold until 2019 when the Pasadena Police Department re-opened it and named Reyes as a person of interest.

“Never heard of him, never seen him,” Murn said.

Pasadena police arrested Reyes for criminal trespass last August. He pled guilty and served his time, but they never had enough evidence to charge him in Maldonado’s murder.

Reyes walked into the Pasadena police station on Sunday and confessed, allegedly telling detectives he shot Maldonado after stealing $500 and some pills.

Murn finally got the call she hoped for while grocery shopping the same day.

“I nearly collapsed,” she said. “And I started shaking.”

While it’s a sense of relief, it doesn’t resolve her heartache.

“To me, that day is every day. The pain never goes away,” she said.

Reyes is being held in the Harris County Jail and his bond was denied. He’s due back in court on Thursday.

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