Prosecutors: Girl's murder part of satanic ritual

By Phil Archer - Reporter , Jill Courtney

HOUSTON - Prosecutors confirmed Tuesday that the sexual assault and murder of 15-year-old Corriann Cervantes was part of a satanic ritual.

One of two teenage suspects, 17-year-old Jose Reyes, allegedly confessed, telling homicide detectives he "sold his soul to the devil."

Authorities say Reyes and a 16-year-old accomplice allegedly took Cervantes to a vacant apartment near her home last Wednesday and allegedly sexually assaulted, beat and strangled her.

Her partially nude body was found three days later by a resident of the The Bays Apartments in the 6400 block El Camino Real Boulevard.

Prosecutors say an inverted cross was carved on her stomach.

"They discussed the fact that Mr. Reyes had sold his soul to the devil, and if they ended up killing this teenager, that would also allow the 16-year-old to also sell his soul to the devil, " said John Jordan, assistant Harris County district attorney.

Prosecutors say when Cervantes attempted to run away, Reyes began beating her head with an ashtray.

"The teenager screamed, 'Why are you doing this to me?'" said Jordan. "During that time they stopped her. It became a kidnapping, and ultimately she was killed."

Cervantes was also beaten with and a toilet water tank lid. She had puncture wounds from a screwdriver on her face. The medical examiner has yet to rule on a cause of death.

The 16-year-old and Cervantes both attended Clear Creek ISD's Clear Path Alternative School in League City. There were extra counselors there Tuesday, and at Clear Lake High School where Cervantes was a student before being transferred to the alternative school in January.

After hearing the alleged details of the murder, some parents are concerned about their children's safety.

"If there's kids in school like that, I don't need my son around them," said parent Melvin Talley, whose son attends Clear Path Alternative.

The school district's director of communications, Elaina Polsen, says counselors will be in the schools for several days to help allay any concerns about student safety.

"We can certainly understand concerns on the part of parents. We urge them to contact our campus so they can talk through their concerns," Polsen said.

Reyes is being held without bond. He faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted on the charge of Capital Murder.

Prosecutors have referred a charge of capital murder to a juvenile court for the 16-year-old, but sources say it's likely they will ask to have him certified as an adult to stand trial.

The younger teen appeared in detention court Wednesday morning. He was detained, and his next court appearance was set for February 18.

Neither teenager is eligible for the death penalty under Texas law because both are under 18 years old

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