Affidavit: Man 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 North Richland Hills, told his mother that he loved her and wrapped his arm around her neck, choking her and punching her in the face until she stopped breathing, according to a probable-cause warrant obtained by the Star-Telegram on Friday.

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

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

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

The affidavit provided these details:

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

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

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

The 18-year-old returned at 12:45 a.m. Jan. 12. The front door was unlocked, and he found his mother lying on the living room floor and called 911.

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

At 1:30 a.m., Haltom City police reported to North Richland Hills investigators that a wrecked 1993 Lexus LS 400 had been abandoned in the 5600 block of Northeast Loop 820. The vehicle belonged to Collins.

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

Investigators tracked down the father's address and were there when a taxi dropped off Collins.

Initially, in an interview with investigators, Collins said that he left the apartment at about 11 p.m. 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 being asked what had happened, Collins finally told the investigator that after his mother woke him up, he walked in the living room and attacked her. Collins asked the investigator how his mother was and police told him that she had died.

The investigator asked Collins whether that surprised him, and he answered, "No."

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

He was in the Tarrant County Jail on Friday, with bail set at $1 million.

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