POSTED: Friday, August 16, 2013 - 4:11pm
UPDATED: Saturday, August 17, 2013 - 1:22pm
HIDALGO COUNTY (NEWS CENTER 23) — A pair of 20-year-olds are facing capital murder charges.
Marco Antonio Hernandez and Benjamin Vasquez Hernandez have confessed to the crime. They are unrelated and both were considered family friends of the victim, 19-year-old Stephanie Gonzalez.
They were both let into the home.
Investigators say Benjamin raped and asphyxiated Gonzalez and burned the home to destroy evidence.
"We believe an extension cord was wrapped around her neck after the sexual assault and she was strangled to death," said Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Trevino. "She was then dragged to the kitchen, placed next to the stove, combustible items were placed on top of the stove, which ignited the fire."
The Sheriff said the suspects were at the home to see Gonzalez' little sister. How a friendly visit turned into murder, arson and sexual assault is anybody's guess. And investigators say they found out afterward that Gonzalez was pregnant.
"There is no indication as to what prompted the sexual assault," Trevino said. "I don't know why they did it... For some reason it just evolved to that point."
Officials say Marco was contrite about his actions. He was the one who stole a laptop and television as the sexual assault was going on. In court, his eyes swelled as a future behind bars stared back at him.
Bond for Marco is set at $800,000. For Benjamin, it's nearly twice as much at $1.5 million.