Tyler murder suspect initially claimed self-defense, victim had 22 stab wounds


TYLER, Texas (KETK) – A Tyler man indicted for a July murder initially claimed self-defense for the crime, according to an arrest warrant obtained by KETK News.

Humberto Lauro Leal, 39, is accused of stabbing Luis Rene Maruffo-Castaneda back on June 30 at his home north of the Tyler city limits.

When a Smith County detective arrived on the scene, he found Castaneda dead in the driver seat of his car, covered in blood. He then interviewed Leal, who said he lived there and claimed Castaneda was trying to kill him and he stabbed him in self-defense.

Leal also had a gunshot wound in his lower abdomen. He was then taken to UT Health East Texas for further treatment.

In his initial interview, Leal claimed that he stabbed Castaneda four times and that Casteneda was standing when he shot him.

However, detectives in the arrest warrant said that the autopsy revealed Castaneda was stabbed 22 times in the head, neck, chest, back, and left arm. There was also forensic evidence that showed Casteneda was on his back when he shot Leal, further contradicting his statement.

In a follow-up interview, Leal allegedly confessed to police that he lied about how the fight went down and that it was not unprovoked. They were arguing earlier that day at a different location and had an initial fight six months before the murder.

Leal is charged with murder and is sitting in the Smith County jail on a $500,000 bond. If convicted, he faces up to life in prison.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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