In a Houston courtroom on Monday, 19-year-old Ariel Cruz, accused of murdering his ex-girlfriend Idania Maria Campos Muñoz, appeared before a judge for the first time. Cruz, who was dressed in an orange jumpsuit and shackled, faces charges for the fatal shooting of Muñoz, a 21-year-old Lamar High School graduate and current Houston Community College student.
During the hearing, Cruz’s attorney requested a reduction of his $500,000 bond, which the judge subsequently denied. The courtroom was filled with over a dozen members of Muñoz’s family, who were present for Cruz’s initial appearance.
Prosecutors allege that Cruz confessed to killing Muñoz after she ended their relationship. Her body was discovered by her family in the trunk of her car in Meyerland, where they had to break a window to gain access. According to new details revealed in court, Cruz reportedly confessed to shooting Muñoz in the head, and police found what they believe to be the murder weapon in his bedroom.
Surveillance footage from the Meyerland Complex Plaza is believed to show the couple together shortly before the shooting. Cruz’s attorney, Casey Little Gonzalez, raised doubts about the confession and the testing of the weapon, stating, “False confessions are made all the time.”
Muñoz’s family, visibly affected, attended the court session. One sister expressed her desire for Cruz to spend the rest of his life in prison. Cruz, a Houston resident living with his parents and younger siblings, would be placed under 24-hour house arrest with no contact with the victim’s family if he manages to post bond.