February 7, 2014

Friend: Relationship between slain TCU student, suspect ‘very bad thing’

The brother of victim Stewart Trese said his family has faith that the “truth will come out.”

A mutual friend who introduced David Hidalgo to the TCU student he is accused of killing said that the two men were bad influences on each other and that he suspected their friendship was doomed.

But the friend, who asked not to be identified because he fears for his safety, said he never imagined that the relationship would end so tragically.

“I thought it would be a good thing, but it turned out to be an obviously very bad thing,” the friend said.

Reached at their south Fort Worth home Friday, Hidalgo’s relatives declined to comment.

In a jailhouse interview with WFAA/Channel 8 on Thursday, Hidalgo, 21, claimed that he stabbed Stewart Trese, 23, in self-defense. He said that he rejected Trese’s sexual advances and that Trese pulled a knife on him.

Hidalgo said he wrestled the knife away from Trese, then stabbed him about five times in the chest and throat.

Hidalgo remains in jail with bail set at $100,000, according to jail records.

Fort Worth police have declined to discuss the suspected motive, saying only that the stabbing occurred after an altercation.

Asked to comment on Hidalgo’s claims, Trese’s brother, Steve Trese, said Friday that “we believe that somebody in his predicament would do anything to save his skin.”

“Stewart was not that guy. We have the utmost faith in the Fort Worth police and district attorney’s office and the truth will come out,” Steve Trese said.

The friend said he introduced Hidalgo to Trese, a senior marketing major from Fort Worth, about 18 months ago.

He said both men volunteered at Neighborhood Needs, a charity through Altamesa Church of Christ that provides clothing and food to the needy.

Trese and Hidalgo grew close, and the friend said they were a bad influence on each other. At one point, he said, Hidalgo was hospitalized after a heavy night of drinking alcohol that Trese had allegedly bought.

Concerned about the decisions the two were making, the mutual friend said he tried to mentor both men, even reaching out to their families for help.

The friend said he stopped hanging out with Hidalgo and Trese about four months ago.

Hidalgo and Trese came from different backgrounds, but that didn’t appear to be an issue in their friendship, he said.

Hidalgo, who lived in south Fort Worth, didn’t have a job.

“He’s a townie. He’s not TCU. He grew up right next to the train tracks. Literally, they’re in his yard,” the friend said. “He took the bus everywhere.”

Trese, the son of a doctor, had been afforded more opportunities and didn’t appear to mind financing the two men’s friendship, the friend said.

“I thought Stewart was the goody two-shoes taking a step on the wrong side, just seeing how it is … and David wanted to see what the other side of the world lived like,” the mutual friend said.

The friend said Hidalgo carried a knife for protection, but not Trese.

“I never saw [Trese] with a knife,” the friend said.

Though Hidalgo has “anger issues,” the friend said, he can’t imagine that Hidalgo would even think of harming Trese.

He said Hidalgo, though not necessarily book-smart, was intelligent and often beat him in chess.

“David wasn’t dumb like most people perceive him,” the friend said. “He had a very smart streak about him … that’s more generic people-smart.”

The friend added: “He’s a great guy when he’s focused. When he’s not, that’s the problem. When he does alcohol, he goes overboard. When he does other stuff, he goes overboard.

“My guess is he just made a mistake. It’s regrettable because I like them both.”

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