Wed. Jul 17th, 2024

Austin Woman Found Guilty of 2021 Murder in Bouncy Castle Dispute

By meerna Jul11,2024
Austin Woman Found Guilty of 2021 Murder in Bouncy Castle Dispute

A Travis County jury found a 33-year-old woman guilty Tuesday of murdering a 52-year-old man in 2021 over a dispute over a Spider-Man bouncy castle in an East Austin neighborhood.

Nora Lopez was convicted of killing 52-year-old James Traylor on Nov. 1, 2021, in an alley near her home in the Garcreek Circle neighborhood.. She thought Traylor had stolen a Spider-Man bouncy castle she had rented for her children and neighbors’ children to use on Halloween. The bouncy castle was actually picked up that night by the same people who brought it in, at Lopez’s request, prosecutor Rick Jones said.

The jury deliberated for five hours Tuesday before reaching its verdict, said Ismael Martinez, a spokesman for the Travis County District Attorney’s Office. The jury decided on Lopez’s sentence Wednesday afternoon.

Lopez called 911 shortly after 8 a.m. Nov. 1 to report the theft of a bouncy castle. The 911 operator told Lopez to file a report to 311 because it was not a life-threatening emergency, Jones said. Lopez then told the operator, “You know what … if anything happens, don’t come back to my house.”

After reporting the theft of the bouncy castle, Lopez met with Traylor and another neighbor, Arlan Byrd. During the meeting, Lopez insisted that Traylor had stolen the bouncy castle, noting that she had seen it on security camera footage. Traylor denied the theft, saying it would be the work of two people. All three left, and Lopez and Byrd returned to their homes.

About five minutes into the encounter, Byrd saw Lopez walk up behind Traylor and shoot three times. Traylor was hit once in the head and twice in the back.

In their closing arguments Tuesday, Lopez’s defense attorneys portrayed her as a devoted mother who paid for a bouncy castle because the area was too dangerous for children to trick-or-treat. She worked as a security guard so she could provide a better life for her family, attorneys Doug O’Connell and Laurie Drymalla said.

They alleged that Traylor regularly harassed Lopez, to the point that a friend said Lopez was “desperate” to leave the high-crime neighborhood. They also highlighted Lopez’s history of sexual harassment by another man, indicating Lopez’s fear of falling victim to other men again, especially Traylor.

Prosecutors say Lopez confessed to one of her boyfriends that she killed Traylor and hid the gun at her other boyfriend’s home.

By meerna

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