Released Serial Killer Confesses to More Killings

Released Serial Killer
Raul Meza Jr. | Image by Austin Police Department

Raul Meza Jr. of Austin was incarcerated for murder a second time last week after being apprehended by U.S. Marshals.

Austin Police Department has launched an investigation into nearly a dozen unsolved murders committed in the area since Meza was controversially released in 1993. He had served just 11 years of a 30-year sentence for the murder of 8-year-old Kendra Page.

Austin PD told reporters at a press conference on June 1 that the 62-year-old had called them on May 24 to confess to killing his roommate Jesse Fraga, 80, and Gloria Lofton, 66.

Meza then absconded and led police on a manhunt before being arrested at a bus stop on May 29, allegedly in the possession of a bag containing duct tape, zip ties, a flashlight, and a loaded firearm.

“Mr. Meza said he was ready and prepared to kill again and he was looking forward to it,” Det. Patrick Reed of Austin PD told reporters, according to CNN.

Assistant Interim City Manager of Austin Bruce Mills, who investigated Page’s murder in 1982, expressed disbelief at the current situation.

“Commits capital murder, pleads to murder, is released 11 years later, and has killed how many people? We don’t know,” Mills said, according to CNN. “Justice was not served. So, there was a travesty of justice totally in this case.”

There was public protest when Meza was released in 1993. Both he and his mother responded with claims that he no longer posed a threat.

“There is nothing I can do to change my past. I can only tell you in my heart I know that I will not willfully bring harm to anyone,” Meza told the media at the time, according to WFAA.

Meza is being held on a $1 million bond for four charges, including capital murder. While he apparently confessed to the murders of Fraga and Lofton, he is also currently suspected of being behind other killings.

“Right now, we have between eight and 10 cases that kind of fit the similar circumstances that we’re looking at, but that could obviously grow,” Det. Katy Conner of Austin PD told reporters, according to CNN.

As The Dallas Express has previously covered, Austin PD had been receiving support from the Texas Department of Public Safety until the troopers were redirected to the southern border in mid-May.

Much like in Dallas — whose police association president Mike Mata says the police force falls short by as many as 500 officers — Austin has been plagued by staff shortages, making it difficult for law enforcement to effectively protect and respond to the needs of city residents.

The murder rate in Austin has climbed by approximately 10% in the past few years, leading to a recent WalletHub study ranking the city as having the 15th greatest homicide problem among the 45 most populated states in the country.

Dallas ranked No.7 on this list, with little sign of improving, especially since law enforcement’s efforts to quell the onslaught of violent crime have purportedly been hampered by a ransomware attack against City servers at the start of May.

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