Brian Suniga was sentenced to death by the State of Texas for a robbery murder. According to court documents Brian Suniga would shoot and kill David Eric Rowser during a robbery of the One Guy From Italy restaurant in Lubbock Texas. Brian Suniga would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death
Brian Suniga 2021 Information
|Date of Birth||12/27/1979|
|Age (when Received)||35|
|Education Level (Highest Grade Completed)||GED|
|Date of Offense||12/26/2011|
|Age (at the time of Offense)||31|
|Height (in Feet and Inches)||6′ 0″|
|Weight (in Pounds)||208|
Brian Suniga More News
As she sat across from her son’s killer, Sheri Pennington looked at Brian Suniga and unleashed years of pent-up emotion Tuesday in court, calling him an evil, murderous man.
Suniga was sentenced to death for fatally shooting David Eric Rowser II on Dec. 26, 2011, during a robbery at the One Guy from Italy restaurant on 50th Street where Rowser worked.
Calling her sons her heroes, Pennington shared her loss with those in the courtroom. She said Suniga robbed her of the chance to feel her son’s hugs or meet the grandchildren her son would have had.
“Davey isn’t suffering, but you will,” she said. “Davey has the blessings of God, but you have God’s curse and judgment. Davey has streets of gold, but you have bars of steel. Davey is known and remembered for his goodness. But you will forever be known and remembered for your evil and unlawful acts.”
Rowser’s father, David Rowser, told Suniga he forgave him.
“I could live my life hating you or forgiving you,” he said. “I’m forgiving you. I won’t let you consume my life with hate.”
He suggested Suniga accept God in his life.
“Ask forgiveness from God,” he said. “He will forgive you. Part of me hopes you won’t make it.”
However, Rowser gave Suniga this parting shot. “I can live with you in heaven. I don’t think it will work out in this life.”
The 34-year-old Suniga, who dressed in a shirt and tie throughout the trial, did not testify in his defense.
The jury of six men and six women Thursday convicted Suniga of capital murder after deliberating for less than a half-hour. On Tuesday, they spent about two hours deciding whether Suniga deserved a sentence of life in prison without parole or death by lethal injection.
Jurors had to answer three questions to determine their verdict:
Does Suniga pose a threat to society?
Did Suniga cause Rowser’s death?
Is there evidence to support mitigating circumstances to warrant a life sentence without parole?
During the punishment phase of the trial, defense attorneys tried to show jurors the defendant was raised in an environment mired in alcohol, drugs, violence and sexual misconduct.
“The character of the people that formed Brian’s life is clear to us now,” said Dennis Reeves, Suniga’s attorney.
He said Suniga’s family essentially shoved him toward destruction.
Although Suniga still has to be responsible for his choices, Reeves said, testimony from Suniga’s family revealed he did not have many positive role models throughout his life.
“The father figures in Brian’s life were drunks and drug dealers,” Reeves said.
All but one of Suniga’s uncles have been to prison and his mother, Rosalinda Davis, briefly lived with Sesilio Lopez Sr., her sister’s ex-husband, who was a known drug dealer. Lopez also is the father of Suniga’s co-defendant, Sesilio Lopez Jr.
Reeves said Davis and Lopez split up when Lopez was arrested for drug dealing.
“Rosalinda wanted the benefits of drug money, but she didn’t want to pay the price,” Reeves said. “Her sons paid the price.”
Lacking a father, Suniga’s older brothers took on the role to some degree, Reeves said. However, he said even they were flawed.
The eldest brother, Eric, did graduate from college and completed his service in the Navy. However his alcoholism ruined two marriages. Reeves also said when Eric Suniga left for school and to serve, he was effectively out of Brian ’s life.
Michael Suniga testified that he brought violence home on two occasions.
He recalled one episode when attackers came to their home in Copperas Cove and threw a manhole cover into Brian Suniga’s room.
The peak of that violence came years later in Fort Worth, Michael Suniga said.
He said he and his brother armed themselves in preparation for a retaliation after their cousin shot a friend over a drug deal. The ensuing attack left the home riddled with bullets and the attackers set fire to the front of the house. Both brothers escaped unscathed.
“That sums up the life Brian was brought up in,” Reeves told jurors.
The prosecution argued that Suniga did have a sense of right and wrong despite his upbringing.
Matt Powell, Lubbock County’s district attorney, said Suniga, not his family, was responsible for the choices he made leading to Rowser’s death.
He called the defense’s argument insulting when
Reese suggested being raised by a single mother shaped Suniga into a killer.
Powell also pointed out Suniga’s lack of remorse during the entire trial.
Defense attorneys also told jurors a life sentence for Suniga would be enough punishment because as a convicted capital murderer, he would not be given the same privileges as other inmates.
Powell argued Suniga will continue to be a threat to those around him. He said a life sentence would endanger not only other inmates but prison workers as well.
He reminded jurors that as they were selected in the capital murder case, Suniga and another inmate threatened a rival gang member in jail.
“What’s going to happen when all bets are off?” Powell asked jurors.
Through most of the trial Suniga sat amid his attorneys revealing little emotion. Prosecutors did catch him laughing during the testimony of a jailer who wrote him up for disrespect and during his brother’s testimony as he recalled the gunfight at his mother’s home.
However, after Judge Jim Bob Darnell read him his sentence, Suniga returned to his seat, turned around to face his family and said softly, “I love you all,” before he was shackled and escorted out of the room.
Powell said Rowser’s family, who declined to comment following the verdict, felt a sense of relief and satisfaction.
While Suniga’s trial is over, Lopez, who is also facing a capital murder charge, awaits trial.
Powell said his office is still working on how to pursue that case.
“We’ve told the family in the next few weeks we’ll try to figure out what route we’ll go with him and we’ve had lots of discussion with the family in that regard,” he said. “We’ll try to determine what we think is appropriate in that case and we’ll go from there.”