Bellmead man who shot Waco teen in the head during drug deal sentenced to prison

Juan Carlos Fabela
Juan Carlos Fabela(KWTX GRAPHIC)
Published: Feb. 23, 2023 at 4:34 PM CST
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - A former Bellmead man who shot a Waco teenager in the head in 2018 when a drug deal on the parking lot of a local grocery store turned into a robbery was sentenced to 20 years in prison Thursday.

Juan Carlos Fabela, 23, pleaded guilty Thursday to aggravated robbery in a July 19, 2018, incident on the H-E-B parking lot at 3801 N. 19th St. in which he shot 18-year-old Christian Palacios in the head during a drug deal that evolved into an attempted robbery.

Palacios survived the shooting but suffered life-altering injuries, officials said.

Judge Susan Kelly of Waco’s 54th State District Court accepted the plea bargain between Fabela and prosecutors and sentenced him to 20 years in prison. Fabela also pleaded guilty to possession of tetrahydrocannabinol in a separate incident and was sentenced to 12 months in a state jail facility. The sentences will run concurrently, and Fabela must serve at least 10 years in prison before he can seek parole.

“It’s just a tragedy when people get involved with drugs,” said Fabela’s attorney, Gerald Villarrial. “He’s a young kid, and hopefully he will do well when he gets out. He has good family support.”

Witnesses said Fabela was with two other men and they fled in a light-colored vehicle. Waco police said Palacios was found in a black BMW sedan and was taken to a local hospital for treatment of his head wound.

Officials said Fabela fled to Mexico but was tracked to Dallas with the help of an anonymous Waco Crime Stoppers tip. He was arrested by the U.S. Marshal’s Service Lone Star Fugitive Task Force in May 2021.