On 24th November 2002, two men, both wearing pantyhose masks and carrying rifles, walked through the back door of Action Amusement Center at 3805 N. Stockbauer Drive in Victoria, Texas. The men demanded the patrons to sit still and hand over their money. While one of the masked men walked into the office of the Action Amusement Center, the other one stayed in the customers' area and pointed the gun at the people there. According to witnesses, the 60-year-old Victor Billings stood up and walked towards the man, probably in order to protect his wife Linda. While trying to disarm one of the robbers, Victor Billings was shot in the chest and died at the game room. A 56-year-old Victoria woman was hit in the foot by one of the bullets after it exited Victor Billings's body. The robbers jogged out of the Action Amusement Center and fled the scene by jumping into the back seat of a car that was waiting for them outside.
On 14th January 2003, John M. Quintanilla was arrested for an aggravated robbery that was not related to the killing of Victor Billings at the Action Amusement Center. At the time of John's arrest, no charges had been brought up nor had a warrant been issued concerning the killing of Victor Billings. During his interrogation, John made inculpatory statements regarding the offense at the Action Amusement Center that finally led to him being accused of capital murder, sentenced to death and ending up on infamous Texas death row.
Although John M. Quintanilla in the end confessed to and took the responsibility for the murder of Victor Billings, John wants everybody to know that he is not a killer nor has he ever been involved in the crime that has landed him on death row. His reason for confessing to a crime he did not commit was his sense for family and the fact that the life of his family, especially the one of his younger sister, was threatened by a detective investigating the death of Victor Billings.
After the incident at the Action Amusement Center in November 2002, the police originally suspected the husband of John's sister to be involved in the crime. The above mentioned detective questioned John's sister about her husband's involvement in the offense, and when she refused to give him the information needed to arrest the true offender in the crime, the detective told her that she was an accessory in capital murder. He also told John's mother that her daughter was a cold blooded person and that he would make sure she was sentenced to death. Later in John's trial, this detective testified that he intentionally lied to John's sister which means that her life has never been threatened by the death penalty.
When John heard about the detective's threats towards his family, he made it his business to learn everything about the murder in order to take off psychological pressure from his mom and to give his sister a chance to be there as a mother for her children who were supposed to grow up in an intact family. Shortly after, John took the responsibility for the crime at the Action Amusement Center under the condition that the police would let off his family and drop certain charges against his former girlfriend.
However nothing except John's own false confession presented as evidence in the trial that begun in November 2004 could link John M. Quintanilla doubtlessly to the crime.
John's home was searched at least twice and nothing was found that would link him to the murder or the weapon used in it, noone could link John to having any weapons at all.
Out of six witnesses, nobody could identify John as being the shooter under the mask. Instead, witnesses testified that the gunman weighed approximately 170 to 190 pounds, but John weighed only 140 pounds.
Furthermore, a 5 ft 6 inches tall witness stated that the gunman was about 5 ft 7 inches and at least taller than her. John is only 5 ft 6 inches tall.
The same witness said that the men who robbed the Action Amusement Center were white, but John is a semi dark tanned Hispanic with Mexican ancestors.
Apart from John's confession to the crime which he did because he saw the life and the freedom of his family threatened, there is no evidence that would link John M. Quintanilla to the crime scene - there were no fingerprints, there was no blood or DNA evidence, not even the masks and clothes the offenders were wearing have been found.
During his police interrogation, John said that he and the other offenders threw the gun used in the robbery into the nearby river after the crime had happened. This was what John learnt from the real killer when he decided to get all the information about the crime so that he could take responsibility for it. Although the police later found a gun in the river, the bullets that were found at the crime scene could not be linked to this weapon which is suspected to be the rifle with which Victor Billings was shot.
Today, John M. Quintanilla is 32 years old and has been on death row for four years for the crime and the wrongful confession described above. If John can't get the help he needs to pay a proper defense lawyer or investigator, the state of Texas will murder John in a few short years.
Although John - and all his family and friends - deeply regret the death of Victor Billings and the pain his family had to go through, John is not the true killer in this case. This is why John reaches out to the public and asks for help.
Please spread the word about John M. Quintanilla being on death row for a crime he did not commit - talk for example to friends, newspapers, politicians or your church community.
If you can help with legal experience or just want to encourage John as a friend, contact him, please:
John M. Quintanilla Jr. #999491 Polunsky Unit 3872 F.M. 350 South Livingston, Texas, 77351 USA