Jones County DA: Hamlin man's shooting was accidental

Oscar Rene Villarreal, 24, was charged? in late March 2017 in connection with the murder of Lupe Romero in Hamlin.?

ANSON, Texas - The Jones County District Attorney's Office explained why a man who shot and killed a Hamlin man was given 10 years' probation.

On Tuesday, Oscar Villarreal plead guilty to manslaughter and will also have to serve 240 hours of community service and pay a $25,000 fine.

Villarreal was arrested in March for shooting his roommate, Lupe Romero.

According to Hamlin police, Villarreal pointed the blame at Romero's nephew. He told them Romero and his nephew had been fighting a few weeks before the shooting. Jack Thompson, an investigator with the Jones County DA's office, said investigators could not place Romero's nephew at the scene through cellphone towers. It was then Hamlin PD and Texas State troopers revisited Villareal and learned he shot Romero.

Three months later, Villarreal was indicted on a manslaughter charge. Thompson said Villarreal claimed it was an accidental shooting. Because Romero was roughed up by his nephew, Villarreal thought they needed protection.

Thompson said Villarreal was showing a small pistol to Romero when he accidentally shot it. The bullet pierced through his arm and struck Romero's side. Villarreal called an ambulance and Romero succumbed to his injuries.

Thompson said the evidence supported Villarreal's claims.

"There was no criminal intent," Thompson said.

District Attorney Joe Edd Boaz weighed in, stating Romero's family was invited to the plea hearing.