Tensions soar over signs supporting San Jacinto County capital murder suspect, Francisco Oropeza

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Texas – 38-year-old Francisco Oropeza pleaded not guilty to killing his five neighbors, including a child in April.

KPRC 2 was there as a man tore down Tania Cardon’s sign that said Francisco Oropeza should get a fair trial.

“This is private property you’re standing on!” said Weston Kinard.

“You’re taking down my property!” said Tania Cardona.

Cardona told KPRC 2 reporter Corley Peel that she does not know Oropeza personally.

“I don’t know Francisco Oropeza, but I am from Guatemala and I’m fighting for his right. Everything has to come out to the light,” said Cardona.

This is the third time someone has removed Cardona’s sign from Fostoria Road where food trucks and vendors stand. Cardona said the owner of the property gave her permission to put up the sign. A man, who identified himself as the owner, also told KPRC 2 he gave Cardona permission. Weston Kinard said that is not true, his uncle is the owner. He said his uncle does not approve of the sign.

“He lives in Abilene, Texas. He owner finances it to the gentleman,” said Kinard.

Kinard said Cardona’s sign is upsetting.

“For one, it didn’t happen in Montgomery County. That’s something that needs to be settled in San Jacinto County. I’ve got a kid right here. If this happened to me, I’d be devastated seeing somebody putting something up,” said Kinard.

On Cardona’s signs, it reads ‘Investigate the widows,’ referring to two men who survived the shooting. Wilson Garcia lost his wife and 8-year-old son.

“I’m not justifying what happened over there,” said Cardona.

Cardona’s sign also names Oropeza’s attorney, Anthony Osso. KPRC 2 reached out to Osso who says he did not have anything to do with the signs. Investigators said Oropeza led police on a four-day manhunt after shooting and killing his five neighbors after he was asked to stop shooting his rifle in his yard while a baby was sleeping. Cardona said she is questioning what happened after other stories have circulated on social media.

“Its harder for us to see that they have somebody in jail without seeing the other side of the story,” said Cardona.

Some neighbors brought their own signs to support the family.

“The whole family needs justice,” said Timothy Sumrall.

Montgomery County deputies showed up, but it’s unclear if Cardona will be allowed to keep the sign up.

KPRC 2 reached out to the family of the people who were killed. They said they cannot comment, but those who have been putting up the signs are not personally involved in the case.

About the Author:

Corley Peel is a Texas native and Texas Tech graduate who covered big stories in Joplin, Missouri, Tulsa, Oklahoma and Jacksonville, Florida before returning to the Lone Star State. When not reporting, Corley enjoys hot yoga, Tech Football, and finding the best tacos in town.