AUSTIN (KXAN) — Since his arrest by the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force on May 25, Raul Meza Jr., 62, faces four charges and has combined bonds amounting to more than $3 million.
Of the four charges, two were for murder, one for capital murder by terroristic threat and another for the unauthorized use of a vehicle.
As of Sunday, Meza remained booked in Travis County Jail.
What we know of Raul Meza’s criminal history
Meza’s criminal history dates back decades, including convictions in an aggravated robbery as well as murder.
Meza was sentenced to 20 years for a 1975 aggravated robbery. He served five years of the sentence before being released on parole.
In 1982, Meza was sentenced to 30 years for murder. An additional 16-year-sentence was placed on top of his 30-year sentence due to his 1977 conviction on the aggravated robbery case.
Meza was released from prison in 1993 after serving just over 11 years of his sentence for the 1982 murder.
1n 1994, Meza was sent back to prison for parole violation. From there, records show Meza was in and out of prisons and jails, sometimes going to halfway houses as far away as El Paso and Ohio.
In 2020, DNA linked Meza to a cold case. The DPS Capital Area Regional Crime Lab obtained a DNA profile in April 2020, with a CODIS match for Meza confirmed in May 2020.
In May 2023, Meza was identified, arrested and charged after confessing to the murder of his roommate Jesse Fraga, 80.
APD launches internal review into handling of 2020 DNA linked to Raul Meza
DNA evidence from the 2019 death of Gloria Lofton linked her case to Raul Meza, Jr., according to court documents — and police arrested him on a murder charge related to her death this week.
Meza’s arrest affidavit stated that in 2020, a DNA profile obtained from a sexual assault kit for Lofton’s matched Meza’s DNA, but police did not arrest Meza at that time.
On June 1, the Austin Police Department said it was conducting an internal review of how investigators pursued the case upon obtaining the DNA match.
How are serial killers tried in Texas? Why the Raul Meza Jr. trials could last years
Law enforcement now say there were additional cold cases they were looking at in connection to Meza.
Meza’s bigger pending charges:
- Capital murder: punishable by either death or life without parole
- Murder: punishable by a minimum of 5-maximum of 99 years or life in prison.
“People following these cases should expect that the cases will individually move forward. This is going to be a very long, multi-year process. The way the law works in Texas, people are not tried for who they are but for what they’ve done. Mr. Meza will be entitled to a jury trial, if he so chooses, on each individual murder charge against him because it appears at this time that all of the charges are separate incidences,” Austin defense attorney Rick Cofer said about Meza’s legal future.