Victims’ statements heard before life sentence entered in Frias hearing
Beverly Bryant - March 29, 2019 2:46 pm
Friends and family members of Janett Reyna gathered in another courtroom after Luis Frias was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. (Photo by Beverly Bryant)
NEWKIRK — Luis Octavio Frias, 34, today entered a plea of guilty to first degree murder in the Aug. 8, 2013, stabbing death of his estranged wife, Janett Reyna, in Blackwell.
Judge Lee Turner sentenced Frias to life without the possibility of parole on the murder charge
Reyna, who was 29 at the time of her death, was stabbed 41 times, according to investigators. The stabbing occurred at her mother-in-law’s apartment, in front of her three children with Frias.
Frias also pleaded no contest to a felony charge of conspiracy to commit murder. He was charged with conspiring with his mother to lure Reyna to the mother’s home. Turner sentenced him to 10 years on the conspiracy charge, to be served consecutively after the life sentence.
Frias testified that on Aug. 8, 2013, he met his estranged wife, Janett Reyna, at his mother’s home to drop off their children.
“I wanted to talk about our relationship,” he said. “Once she was inside I closed the door.”
He then told how he grabbed a knife from the kitchen.
“I stabbed her I don’t know how many times,” he said. “My mother grabbed me and ripped my shirt.”
After stabbing Reyna 41 times, Frias said he ran through the woods, got a ride from a friend to go to his aunt’s house in Enid, and she drove him to Wichita, Kansas. From there, he said, he took buses to Mexico.
“I know sorry isn’t good enough, but I am sorry,” he said while sobbing. “I would trade places with Janett any day. She meant the world to me.I’m sorry.”
Kay County District Attorney Brian Hermanson questioned Frias.
“You hid behind the door?” Hermanson asked.
“Yes,” Frias responded.
“And you grabbed her and pulled her in?” Hermanson asked.
“I don’t remember,” Frias said.
Hermanson then asked about the events after the stabbing. “You left the scene?” “A friend gave you a ride to Enid?” “Your aunt took you to Wichita?” “You took a bus to Mexico?”
Frias answered yes to all questions.
Hermanson then asked if he lived in Mexico under an assumed name.
“After the first year, yes. The first year I didn’t use a name at all,” Frias said.
Frias’ attorney, Gretchen Mosley of the Oklahoma Indigent Defense System, said there was no question that Frias would plead guilty to the murder charge, but requested to plead no contest to the conspiracy charge based on the facts. Judge Turner agreed and accepted both pleas.
The court heard witness impact statements from Monique Guevara-Hutson and JR and Lindsey Casique.
Hutson had been with Reyna when she went to the apartment of Frias’ mother, Atocha Maria Beltran. Hutson was the person who called 911 to report the stabbing.
She described Reyna as a beautiful soul, full of life and loving, who liked to help people.
“She was an amazing mother who loved her babies so much,” Hutson said. “That’s why she stayed with such an abusive man for so long.
“She was also a survivor of domestic violence and was empathic with others,” she said.
Hutson said her boss recommended she talk to Reyna as she also was in an abusive situation.
Reyna attended Northern Oklahoma College and graduated with an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice. In 2008 she completed CLEET training and became a police offer for the Blackwell Police Department. In 2012, she became the Director of the Domestic Violence Program for the Ponca Tribe.
“She made me feel better,” Hutson said. “She asked if I wanted to work as a domestic violence advocate with her. Working with her was a pleasure.”
Hutson described Reyna as an instant friend who was always laughing, who loved music, and who looked like she had everything together. She was buying a home, had three beautiful children and a luxury car.
“And she had a handsome husband who delivered flowers to her,” Hutson said. “The pictures were deceiving. Behind closed doors, it was anything but beautiful.
“He was secretly recording our private conversations and the daily violence became more dangerous,” she said.
“Luis has taken more away from me than I ever thought he could,” she said. “Nothing we can do will bring Janett back, but we can celebrate her life and I will continue to make women safe from monsters like you.
“For all of Janett’s family, I pray for help to forgive you. I don’t want to allow the hate for you in my heart. Whe you did was not love. Your being jealous was not love.
“One day I will forgive you. That day is not today,” Hutson said.
Lindsey Casique gave a witness statement on behalf of herself and her husband JR.
She also described Reyna as a person who always had a smile and a passion for helping people.
“She pursued her dream of being a police officer,” Casique said. “She was trying to get out, but wanted to be right and fair. She tried to accommodate you, Luis.”
Casique said that on Aug. 8, 2013, the unimaginable, unthought of, and unbelievable happened with Reyna’s death.
“The kids’ lives will never be the same,” she said. “They lost both parents that day and their childhoods.”
“Their life with her was cut short, and you ran off. How could you be so angry toward someone who did everything for you?” she asked Frias.
“She is in heaven where she will no longer be stalked or abused,” she said, “where she can have a little peace.”
In a statement read by Casique, Reyna’s mother, Trisha McIntyre, recalled her daughter’s birth on Oct. 27, 1983.
“I looked down at her and said we would be best friends forever,” McIntyre said. “I was overprotective of her and we got closer. We talked daily and laughed. She was my daughter; my best friend. I cried with Luis when she gave birth to her first child.”
She told Frias “In the most evil way possible, you’ve taken her from me, her children, her brothers, her sisters, and her other family. I hate that I wasn’t there to protect her from you that day.
“You premeditated her murder with your girlfriend and family,” she said. “The kids will never have their mother or father to hold them and tell them everything will be OK.
“My grandchildren are suffering; they fear you. I will never forgive you for what you did for my life.”
Judge Turner had Frias stand for his sentencing.
Hermanson said his recommendation today was to leave it to the family as to whether to request life without the possibility of parole or death.
He said Blackwell Police Chief Dewayne Wood and Reyna’s parents had agreed they would request a sentence of life without the possibility of parole to avoid a trial and to protect the children from further trauma.
“He will never be released,” Hermanson said.
The second sentence for conspiracy is for 10 years, to be served second, Hermanson said.
“I think life without parole is a far worse sentence in this case than death,” Judge Turner said.
“The goal was to make sure the family’s wishes were followed,” Hermanson said. “They were very clear that the needs of the children was critical.”