Affidavit: Son choked, beat mother to death in North Richland Hills apartment

Posted Friday, Jan. 18, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Justin Collins walked into his family's living room in their North Richland Hills apartment, told his mother that he loved her and then wrapped his arm around her neck, choked her and punched her in the face with his fists until she stopped breathing, according to a probable cause warrant obtained by the Star-Telegram on Friday.

The 23-year-old Collins was in the process of moving out of the apartment when he began to argue with his mother, Angela Lozano, 45, on the night of Jan. 11, the affidavit stated.

Collins had told neighbors that he had been admitted to a psychiatric ward during the Christmas holidays after getting into a fight and had returned to the North Richland Hills apartment to get some belongings, according to the affidavit.

A few hours after Lozano was found dead on the morning of Jan. 12, North Richland Hills police arrested Collins. He had fled the apartment to his father's home in another Tarrant County city.

The affidavit provided these details in the slaying:

Collins, his 18-year-old brother and Lozano, a customer service employee with the city of North Richland Hills, had been living at an apartment in the 6700 block of Buenos Aires Drive in North Richland Hills.

Two neighbors told police that Collins told them that he had not been around the apartment during the Christmas holidays because he was in the ward. They saw him at about 5 p.m. on Jan. 11 at the apartment.

Collins younger brother told police that he had left the apartment at about 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 11 because his mother and older brother were arguing. Collins was moving out because he had had numerous arguments with his mother.

The 18-year-old sibling arrived back at 12:45 a.m. Jan. 12 with the front door closed, but unlocked. He found his mother lying on the living room floor.

He called 911 and when North Richland Hills police arrived the teen was found sitting on a couch.

Through the investigation, authorities asked the teen to call Collins, who told his brother that he was heading toward his father's home, but he would return to the apartment. The teen told Collins that their mother was hurt. Collins never returned to the apartment.

At 1:30 a.m. on Jan. 12, Haltom City police reported to North Richland Hills investigators that they had found a wrecked 1993 Lexus LS400 abandoned on an exit ramp in the 5600 block of Northeast Loop 820 in Haltom City. The vehicle belonged to Collins.

According to Haltom City police reports, two men were seen walking away from the wrecked Lexus, one of them fitting Collins' description.

Investigators later tracked down the address to Collins' father and were there when Collins was dropped off by a taxi driver.

Collins agreed to go with investigators to the North Richland Hills police station.

Initially, in an interview with investigators, Collins said that he had left the apartment at about 11 p.m. on Jan. 11 and that his mother was fine.

But at one point, the investigator said: "I asked if he meant for what happened to have happened and he said, 'No.' "

After repeatedly asking him what had happened, Collins finally told the investigator that after his mother woke him up, he walked in the living room and attacked her, choking and punching her until she was dead.

At that point, Collins asked the investigator how his mother was and police told him that she had died.

The investigator asked Collins if that surprised him, and the 23-year-old man answered, "No."

Lozano died from blunt trauma to her head, according to a ruling by the Tarrant County medical examiner's office.

A murder charge was filed against Collins on Thursday, according to Tarrant County criminal court records.

Collins remained in the Tarrant County Jail Friday in lieu of $1 million bail.

Domingo Ramirez Jr., 817-390-7763

Twitter: @mingoramirezjr

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