AUSTIN, Texas - Suspected serial killer Raul Meza Jr. faced a judge Monday, Nov. 20 for the first time since being indicted by a grand jury for two separate murders.
The families of those victims he is accused of murdering hope he is not granted a plea deal. They told FOX 7 Austin they want a trial and hope he is given the death penalty.
Raul Meza Jr., 62, entered the courtroom Monday under the tight grip of a Travis County Sheriff’s Office deputy. It was his first court appearance since being indicted by a grand jury for the murders of Gloria Elizabeth Lofton in 2019 and Jesse Fraga earlier this year.
"The judge made sure that the attorneys are still working on the case and making progress toward resolving the case," said Russ Hunt Jr., an attorney representing Meza.
A judge reset his hearing for January. Hunt says this was just the first step in this case and there is still a lot to be done before the possibility of Meza having a trial.
"There are a lot of moving parts in a case like this. Sometimes cases like this will drag on for years and years," said Hunt.
Meza was in and out of the courtroom within less than a minute. The front rows were filled with family members of the victims he is accused of murdering.
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"I think that's a bold-faced coward. He couldn't even look up at us or anyone in the room," said Christina Fultz, daughter of Gloria Lofton.
Fultz says the victims’ families have formed an unexpected bond and have made a promise to each other to be there at every one of Meza’s court appearances.
"Let this man know that he's not going to get away with this," said Fultz.
Monday may have been Meza's first court appearance in these cases, but this was not his first time in the court system. In fact, Meza's rapsheet dates back to 1975.
He was most notoriously known for his conviction for the murder of 8-year-old Kendra Page in 1982. He was sentenced under a plea deal to 30 years in prison. However, he was released on parole in 1993 after serving 11 years.
He was then arrested for a parole violation one year later and then spent the next 20 years in and out of prison.
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His attorney says it is too early to discuss what the outcome will be for his client this time around, but both sides are working hard on the case.
"Mr. Meza is in a very tough position. He obviously doesn't want to be incarcerated, it is not the place anyone would want to be, and so he is trying to figure out what his best options are at this point," said Hunt.
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The family of those he is accused of killing told FOX 7 Austin they hope his reign of terror ends for good.
"No plea deal and definitely the death penalty. This man's been ruining generations of lives for decades, so we're hopefully going to make it stop," said Fultz.
Meza will be back in the courtroom on January 17.