Wanted in Texas: Woman charged in MS-13 machete killing cut off GPS ankle monitor
Murder suspect released from jail after district judge reduced bond to $60,000
HOUSTON, Texas (KWTX) - A $5,000 reward is now being offered for Karla Jackelin Morales, 20, a woman charged with murder for allegedly luring a man to his death at the hands of machete-wielding MS-13 gang members, after she cut off her GPS ankle monitor and jumped bail days before her trial started.
Morales was set to go on trial for her allegedly role in the 2018 shooting and machete killing of Jose Villanueva, 24.
Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said authorities hoped to capture Morales in recent weeks but are now asking for the public’s help.
“She helped plan and plot this vicious execution, and somebody out there knows where she is hiding,” Ogg said. “You can do the right thing by helping deliver justice for Jose’s family, and you can collect a reward for your efforts.”
Five gang members who slaughtered Villanueva have already been convicted and sentenced to prison. Morales, who goes by the nicknames “Cherry,” “Karlita,” “Missy,” and “Foxy,” was the last of the defendants scheduled to go on trial.
Authorities said she is five feet tall with a “heavy build” and has black hair and brown eyes. Morales also has several tattoos, including a large one on her upper left chest that reads “Alicia.”
The defendant was set for trial on October 25, 2021 and was free on a $60,000 bond. On October 20, she allegedly cut off her ankle monitor, which included a GPS tracking device, and absconded. She has since been charged with bond jumping.
On July 29, 2018, Morales allegedly lured Villanueva to a grassy field near a Spring elementary school to smoke marijuana.
Once Villanueva arrived, several MS-13 members hacked him with machetes, and then, as he tried to crawl away, shot him repeatedly with a handgun.
Villanueva had been hiding from the gang members, who were searching for him for allegedly disparaging the gang in a rap-music battle.
“In a scheme that was planned for weeks, Morales delivered Villanueva into the hands of his attackers,” Ogg said, “His wracked and decomposing remains were found days later.”
Morales was born in California but has family in Central America, including Honduras and El Salvador. Authorities believe she may still be in the Houston area.
Back when Morales was charged, prosecutors asked a magistrate judge to set her bond at $250,000. The judge instead set it at $100,000.
A district court judge later lowered the bond to $60,000 and waived the defendant’s fees for an ankle monitor.
Morales failed to show up for a hearing days before her trial was to begin and hasn’t been seen since.
Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.
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