In 1991, Laredo was shaken up after three men had broken into the home of a Baptist youth group leader and claimed his life. The men were all teenagers at the time, which made it even more surprising. James Smiley was the victim, and he had trusted Miguel Angel Martinez, whom he had worked with at a fast food restaurant previously.
Smiley even gave Martinez the key to his home. Martinez betrayed Smiley’s trust multiple times, stealing from his home repeatedly. Then, when he teamed up with Milo Flores and Miguel Angel Venegas, things became very grisly. The three men broke into the home, and killed Smiley with an axe.
“It was supposed to be what we had done before,” Martinez said. “Nobody home, we go in, we take something.” Martinez didn’t plan on slaying Smiley, instead just wanting to take his valuables. However, he said that Venegas wanted violence. “He was on a mission,” Martinez said. “And it was not to go steal anything…to him, he was on a mission for Satan. Satan wanted their souls.”
Smiley wasn’t the only one that passed away as a result. Two men, aged 14 and 20 years old, had also been killed by the trio. Venegas didn’t seem to feel sorry about his crimes, either. “I come from a machista culture,” he said. “A dare is a dare…I’m thinking to myself, ‘The devil’s got my back.’”