Aged 33, Barbara Ann Pacheco, a woman with a successful career, was with her colleague James “Eric” Wiggs at her Midland residence when both of them met with their unexpected and tragic demise. ‘American Monster: We’re Looking at You Barbara” explores the life of Barbara and Eric, and the events that led to their murder. It also delves into the vigorous investigation that ensued afterward as the investigators left no stone unturned in finding out the identity of the perpetrator/s. Featuring interviews with the victims’ loved ones, investigators, and other individuals involved with the case, the episode gives us a detailed account of the entire case.
How Did Barbara Ann Pacheco and Eric Wiggs Die?
Barbara Ann Paredes was born on October 1, 1972, in Andrews, Texas, to John and Ester Paredes. However, she was brought up and educated in Midland with her siblings, Lori Enriquez, Joann Eckman, Johnny, and Eric Parades. For schooling, she went to Midland High School, and for higher studies, she joined Midland College as well as Angelo State University, where she completed her graduation with a bachelor’s degree in education. This helped her to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a teacher.
Moreover, Barbara met Aldo Pacheco, her future husband, while studying at Angelo State University. Before she departed, she was a third-grade teacher with Ector County Independent School District (ECISD) at Cavazos Elementary in Odessa and a member of the Texas State Teachers Association. After marrying Aldo, she gave birth to four beautiful children Bonnie, Madeline, Elijah, and Ryan. She was not just a loving mother but also an equally devoted teacher, who cared for her children and students.
As for James “Eric” Wiggs, he was brought into the world by James Richard Wiggs and Markel Ann Kocurek Wiggs on February 24, 1966, in Odessa, Texas. Growing up with his sister Dana Estep, he completed his schooling in local Odessa schools and graduated from Permian High School in 1984. Then, for higher studies, he studied Bachelor of Business Administration at Texas Tech University. Eric was very much into music; he even knew how to play the guitar.
Acting was another one of Eric’s hobbies as he even enjoyed working behind the scenes with lighting, sound, and backstage hands. He also became the technical director of Permian Playhouse of Odessa and was responsible for designing and building sets. As the loving father of Micalee Nicole Wiggs, they indulged in various activities, including music, fishing, stargazing, camping, and tubing. They even used to spend quite a lot of time together at the theater. Before he became a teacher for ECISD, he worked at Sears, Roebuck & Co. for 15 years. He had been a teacher at Sam Houston Elementary and Cavazos Elementary, where he was a special education teacher and a colleague of Barbara.
On January 16, 2006, Barbara and her companion Eric were at the house of the former when they both got shot. While Barbara was shot in the throat and abdomen in her bedroom, leading to her death on the spot, Eric was critically wounded. When the neighbors heard the gunshots, they were quick to dial 911 and call the police. Upon rushing to the crime scene, the authorities took Eric to the hospital immediately as he still had a pulse. Unfortunately, he too was declared dead at Midland Memorial Hospital. Meanwhile, the investigators were all over the crime scene, searching for evidence and interrogating the neighbors and the victims’ loved ones.
Who Killed Barbara Ann Pacheco and Eric Wiggs?
After interrogating Barbara Ann Pacheco’s family members and friends, the authorities found out that she had been living separately from her husband, Aldo, for quite a while at the time of her death. Things were reportedly so bad between the married couple that Barbara had even obtained a protective order against her estranged husband. This was following Aldo’s previous charges for kidnapping his wife and holding her at knifepoint.
During the shootings of Barbara and Eric, Aldo was out on bond and awaiting trial for the above-mentioned charges. The suspect allegedly went to his estranged wife’s house, at at 714 West Pine Avenue, grabbed his sawed-off 12-gauge, double-barrel shotgun, wounded Eric, and charged inside the house to shoot Barbara. He, then, shot himself in the face, partially blowing away his left jawbone and eye. After that, Aldo remained in critical condition at the hospital, and when he got better, he was arrested for killing his estranged wife and her coworker Eric Wiggs.
However, Aldo defended himself claiming that he only shot Eric because the latter was going to attack him with a six-pack of Diet Pepsi. He took the shotgun inside the house in fear of Barbara’s relatives, according to him. He further argued that he struggled with Barbara over the gun and accidentally shot her. To decide the verdict for Aldo, he was taken to court where the prosecutors and the defense presented their arguments in front of a judge.
Where is Aldo Pacheco Now?
During the trial, the defense claimed that Aldo might be guilty of first-degree felony murder but not of capital murder, if they were to believe Aldo’s version of the story. He said, “Yes, Aldo did shoot Mr. Wiggs, but he did not intend to cause his death.” Despite the desperate attempts of the defense, in April 2006, Aldo Rene Pacheco was indicted for the shootings of Barbara Ann Pacheco and James “Eric” Wiggs.
Several months later, in November 2006, Aldo was found guilty of capital murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. As for Barbara’s four children, their custody was given to their aunt, Eva Luna. Currently, he is serving his sentence behind bars at William G. McConnell Unit at 3001 Emily Drive in Beeville.