Fort Worth

Man accused in severed-head case now charged in death of man buried under vacant home

Hector Acosta
Hector Acosta Courtesy Tarrant County Sheriff's Office

Two men, including one already charged in the gruesome slayings of a couple found buried in a shallow grave in September in Arlington, were indicted Thursday in connection with the fatal shooting of another man whose body was found buried under the foundation of a Fort Worth home.

Triston Ray Algiene had been reported missing by his family in early July.

The 34-year-old man's body — cut in half and concealed under a repair patch in the home's foundation — was found Oct. 3 inside a vacant home in the 6400 block of Woodway Drive in southwest Fort Worth.

On Thursday, a Tarrant County grand jury indicted Hector “Cholo” Acosta, 28, and Felipe Eduardo Ortiz, 29, on capital murder charges in connection with Algiene’s robbery and death.

Acosta, also known as Acosta-Ojeda, had already been indicted in September on a capital murder charge in the Arlington fatal shootings of Erick “Diablo” Zelaya and Zelaya's 17-year-old girlfriend, Iris Chirinos.

Zelaya’s severed head was found Sept. 2 near a man-made walking trail not far from AT&T Stadium. Near the head, police found a sign that read “La Raza Se Resreta y Faltan 4” which, loosely translated, appears to mean, “The race, or group, must be respected and there’s only four left.”

A suspect, Mariano Sanchez-Pina, was arrested that same day on an unrelated warrant and later gave Arlington homicide detectives information that led them to a shallow grave behind a house in the 200 block of Burton Drive.

There, police found the remainder of Zelaya’s body and the body of his girlfriend. Both had been shot multiple times.

Ironically, police believe the two victims in the Arlington case — Zelaya and Chrinos — both played roles in the July robbery and fatally shooting of Algiene.

Planned robbery

Sources told the Star-Telegram that Algiene had apparently gone to the Woodway house on July 3 for what he was believed was a drug transaction. At that time, Acosta and Ortiz had been renting bedrooms at the Woodway house.

But investigators believe Acosta, Ortiz, Zelaya and Chirinos were actually planning to rob Algiene.

Once there, Algiene was tied up, beaten and forced to give the PIN number to his debit card. When Zelaya and Chirinos went to withdraw money from the card, however, they found the PIN didn't work and alerted Acosta, sources say.

Acosta became upset and shot Algiene in the head, sources say.

Felipe Eduardo Ortiz Courtesy Tarrant County Sheriff's Office

Acosta and Ortiz then dug a hole in the bedroom's foundation, where they apparently buried Algiene after first cutting his body in two.

That same day, police believe Acosta was pulled over by Arlington police while driving Algiene's Toyota Corolla but identified himself as Ortiz. As a result, Ortiz was issued a citation.

Acosta reportedly later sold Algiene's car, the source said.

Missing person report

Algiene's sister reported her brother missing to Glen Rose police on July 17. She had last seen her brother, who had been living in Glen Rose at the time of his disappearance, on July 2.

Arlington police were continuing their investigation into the double homicide in October when they received information that a missing man had been killed inside the Woodway home in Fort Worth in July.

The house, vacant and up for sale when Fort Worth police went to investigate the information, had been remodeled with new flooring and carpeting.

Cop and shovel.jpg
Homicide Detective Scott McCarthy puts away shovels and other tools at a house on Woodway Drive in southwest Fort Worth where a body was found. Deanna Boyd Star-Telegram archives

Fort Worth police and officials used jackhammers and shovels to recover Algiene’s body, which was discovered in a bedroom under a repair patch in the foundation.

Heavily decomposed, the body still had rope and duct tape tied around the head area when found, sources say.

Algiene’s identity was only recently confirmed through DNA tests.

Both suspects jailed

Acosta remains in the Tarrant County Jail with bail set at $1 million in the Arlington capital murder case.

Though initially charged with murder, his co-defendant in the Arlington case, Sanchez-Pina, had insisted to investigators that he only witnessed the attack on Zelaya.

Court records show Sanchez-Pina was indicted in September on a lesser charge of tampering with evidence for allegedly helping to bury Zelaya's body. He remains held in Tarrant County Jail with bail set at $50,000 in the case.

Ortiz, Acosta's co-defendant in the Fort Worth case, has been in Tarrant County Jail since August, when he was arrested by Arlington police and charged with evading arrest. According to an Arlington police report, Ortiz had been a suspect in a hit-and-run when he fled a traffic stop by an Arlington officer, then wrecked and tried to run from officers on foot.

Ortiz is also being held without bond for parole violation, jail records show.

Tarrant County court records show Ortiz had pleaded guilty to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in 2010 for stabbing a man in exchange for a four-year prison sentence. Since that time, he's had convictions for evading arrest and driving while intoxicated, records show.

Deanna Boyd: 817-390-7655, @deannaboyd