Court refuses to hear petition in murder case

Javier de la Rosa, Jr., convicted in 2010 for the murder of 17-year-old Los Fresnos High School student Tiffany Galvan, will again remain in prison after Texas’ highest criminal appeals court refused to hear a petition for discretionary review of his murder conviction.

De la Rosa, a former Lopez High School football player, was 16 when he murdered Galvan, his ex-girlfriend, according to prosecutors.

Cameron County employees found Galvan’s body on an isolated trail near Benavides Park, outside the city limits of Brownsville, on Aug. 25, 2010. She had been stabbed in the face and body 48 times, court records stated.

De la Rosa was tried as an adult. He pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of murder in the 107th state District Court in Cameron County nearly two years later, on March 8, 2012, those records show.

He was sentenced to 90 years in prison, appealed that sentence at the 13th Court of Appeals, lost his appeal, won a habeas suit in federal court which remanded the case to the 107th for a new punishment hearing, court records confirm.

De la Rosa then appealed again at the 13th Court, lost the appeal, and appealed to the Court of Criminal Appeals in July. The Court of Criminal Appeals on Wednesday refused to hear the petition for review filed on De la Rosa’s behalf.

Attorneys for De la Rosa sought review on five grounds, arguing that the state committed reversible error in allowing recorded jail calls into evidence without proper foundation and translation, excusing two jurors, and allowing extraneous offenses to be introduced as evidence.

A memorial was set up inside the courthouse’s main lobby during his punishment trial, at the same entrance the jurors used, attorneys argued in the petition.

De la Rosa sought additional review based on an argument that the district court didn’t have jurisdiction over the indictment because the transfer of his case from juvenile court was unlawful.

The petition filed on De la Rosa’s behalf in July stated that prosecutors originally charged the teen in a three count indictment with capital murder, alleging three ways to commit capital murder from the same conduct.

Those included attempting to commit obstruction or retaliation, while attempting to commit robbery, and while attempting to commit kidnapping.

According to a prior appeal, after officials discovered Galvan’s body, her mother told police she was last seen with De la Rosa. Authorities issued a warrant for his arrest the following day.

De la Rosa remains in custody at the Ferguson Unit in Midway Texas.

esheridan@brownsvilleherald.com