Venezuelan Illegal Accused Of Murdering 12-Year-Old Jocelyn Nungaray Held On $10M Bond – One America News Network

Franklin Pena, 26. (Photo via: Houston Police Dept.) / (R) Jocelyn Nungaray, 12. (Photo via: gofundme)

OAN’s Brooke Mallory
4:50 PM – Monday, June 24, 2024

Franklin Peña, 26, one of the two suspects charged in the death of 12-year-old Jocelyn Nungaray, was handed a $10 million bond by a judge.


In this heartbreaking case, Peña and Johan Jose Martínez Rangel, 22, are accused of capital murder. During their initial hearing last week, both men agreed to forego their right to appear in court.

On Monday, KPRC 2′s Re’Chelle Turner was at the Harris County Criminal Justice Center to provide updates.

While handcuffed and dressed in a yellow jumpsuit, Peña stood before a District Court judge.

Before Jocelyn’s body was found in a north Houston creek on June 17th, the suspects’ whereabouts were listed by the prosecution.

At 6:49 a.m., the girl’s body was discovered beneath a bridge. Her wrists and feet were bound, and she was naked from the waist down. Her backside also displayed many wounds.

According to the autopsy, strangulation was the official cause of her death.

Prosecutors say that Peña and Martinez Rangel were at the Ojos Locos restaurant for hours prior to their meet up with Jocelyn. The three of them are then seen on camera at the 7-Eleven gas station prior to their walk to the bridge.

According to the prosecution, Martinez Rangel had abruptly grabbed Jocelyn by the neck, piled on top of her, and covered her mouth with his hands before killing her.

Martinez Rangel later shaved his beard in order to evade police identification, and the two men were also seeking money to leave the state after they had purportedly committed the murder.

If the lab results are confirmed, the topic of the death penalty in this case was another matter discussed by the judge and attorneys involved.

However, Kim Ogg, the district attorney for Harris County, stated that the suspects are not currently eligible for the death penalty due to the specific allegations they are facing.

Ogg explained why the death sentence is not currently an option in this instance: “Our laws treat the age of victims differently, and they’ve changed where they draw the line. Used to be children under six. If they were murdered, that created an underlying offense that would support death penalty and capital murder. That law was expanded to 10 years old and under, and then further expanded from 10 to 15. If the victim was 10 to 15 years old, yet the death penalty was taken off the table by the legislature, and instead they suggested that life without parole would be the appropriate charge. But age is not the only consideration in this case or any case, the underlying actions of the criminals. This victim was found, you know, bound and without clothing from the waist down in the water. And we just think that there’s a good possibility. We hope that there’s evidence that remains to be tested,” Ogg said.

Their eligibility for the death penalty would increase if lab results confirmed the occurrence of sexual assault. However, from the marks on her body, authorities already believe that was most likely the case. This has not yet been confirmed by DNA evidence.

The judge set Peña’s bond at $10 million.

The two men entered the country illegally from Venezuela and were later freed on their own recognizance by border patrol after being detained earlier this year close to El Paso.

Peña was also wearing an ankle monitor when ICE apprehended him, according to the prosecution, and they believe that he cut it or broke it off either before or after the suspected crime.

“You know, I can’t speak to the ankle monitor that this fellow that you know, that Franklin Peña was wearing. I can’t speak to ICE putting ankle monitors on folks and releasing them. Our immigration system is broken. And if there was ever a case that reflected that, it’s this one,” Ogg added.

Martínez Rangel is supposed to appear in court on Tuesday of this week.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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Brooke Mallory
Author: Brooke Mallory

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