McKinney Quadruple Murder: Raul Cortez Remains on Death Row Today

Investigation Discovery’s ‘Nightmare Next Door: The Truett Street Massacre’ depicts the horrible quadruple murders in McKinney, Texas, in early March 2004. The episode chronicles how Rosa and Mark Barbosa, Matt Self, and Austin York tragically lost their lives during a robbery gone wrong inside Rosa’s Truett Street residence. The case would remain unsolved for over three years before the authorities finally received a credible tip among multiple false confessions that further complicated the investigation.

How Did the McKinney Quadruple Die?

Nestled in Collin County, Texas, just north of Dallas, McKinney paints a picturesque landscape of urban sprawl characterized by its strong sense of community and friendly atmosphere. In this tight-knit town, a unifying force emerges every Friday night – the collective enthusiasm for high-school football. Residents come together to support their cherished local team, the McKinney North Bulldogs, forming a vibrant community ritual that transcends the boundaries of daily life in this welcoming Texan town.

Matt Self and Austin York//Image Credit: Find A Grave

In March 2004, the McKinney North Bulldogs had an explosive trio of players — quarterback Lynard Barbosa, defensive back Austin York, and linebacker Matt Self. 18-year-old Austin Campbell York was born to Charles and Laurie (née Campbell) York in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, on February 23, 1986. Apart from being a critical football team member, he competed in track and served as the Junior Class Secretary in the Student Council. His coach, Shawn Pratt, described him as “an intense player who showed a lot of intent and character.”

Matthew “Matt” Self was born to Keith Wayne and Nancy Lynn (née Ringo) Self in McKinney, Texas, on September 28, 1986. A freshman at McKinney North High School, the linebacker, 17, was famous for his aggression on the field and friendliness off the field. Lynard’s older brother, Mark Anthony Barbosa, was born to Alejandro and Carole (née Mendez) Barbosa, Jr. in McKinney, Texas, on May 19, 1978. He was the most boisterous and enthusiastic supporter at every event, donning team colors and face paint.

Initially, a rising star in football himself, Mark’s athletic aspirations were abruptly halted by an on-field injury, leading not only to the end of his dreams but also confining him to a wheelchair. Fortunately, 25-year-old Mark found solace in the welcoming embrace of his aunt, Rosa Elia Barbosa. She was born to Alejandro and Flerida (née Tamez) Barbosa in McKinney in Collin County, Texas, on July 2, 1957. Due to space constraints at his parents’ modest home, Mark moved in with Rosa during his recovery.

Rosa and Mark Barbosa//Image Credit: Find A Grave

As time passed, Mark, having recuperated, opted to continue living with his supportive aunt. With no children of her own, Rosa, 46, doted on her four nephews. She worked as a clerk at Cliff’s Check Cashing. Hence, it was shocking when Mark’s brother, Robert Barbosa, and his friend found the four victims inside the residence on March 12, 2004. The medical examiner for Collin County presented evidence of Rosa’s hands being bound and her being strangled. She had a blunt-force injury to her face and a gunshot wound at the back-left of her head.

Austin had three gunshot wounds, one with an intermediate caliber bullet and two from a smaller caliber gun. Mark had two wounds, one in the back of his head and one in his right arm, both from smaller caliber guns with bullets having a blue coating. The Dallas County medical examiner testified that Matt had a gunshot wound to the back right side of his head, with a deformed medium caliber bullet recovered from his right lower eyelid. The investigators collected five .25 caliber shell casings and other bullets from the crime scene on Truett Street.

Who Killed the McKinney Quadruple?

Laurie Wilson, Austin’s mother, stated that her son visited his best friend Leonard’s house for video games and socializing. Matt used his father’s pickup truck to join the duo, with both parents claiming their sons maintained an 11:30 pm curfew. A concerned Laurie repeatedly tried to contact her son until four sobbing teenagers broke the devastating news at around 4:00 am on March 13. Meanwhile, Matt’s father, Keith Self, learned from the authorities that Matt had been flown to Baylor Medical Center of Dallas, where he succumbed to his injuries.

Raul Cortez

The police initially attended an alarm call at Cliff’s Check Cashing on W. University Avenue. Subsequently, a 911 call from Robert reported the discovery of bodies at Rosa’s Truett Street residence. The medical examiner also noted that Rosa had a plastic zip tie around her neck and strips of red duct tape covering her mouth, wound around the top of her head, and over her eyes. Over three years, various people admitted to the murders, but the investigators ruled them out as suspects after the suspects failed to corroborate their confessions with facts.

The case stayed unsolved until May 2007 when Talisha Haithcox, then 37 — Eddie Ray Williams’ common-law wife — approached the police, revealing that her husband had information about the perpetrators of the crime. Court records state Eddie and Raul Cortez visited a pawn shop approximately in February 2004 for the latter to purchase a chrome .25 caliber automatic handgun.  They also stopped at a “spy shop,” where Cortez purchased handcuffs. Later, after the requisite waiting period, they picked up the weapon.

Before the offense, Raul tested the gun at his house on 312 South Kentucky Street, firing it into the ceiling while his brother, Javier Cortez, listened from outside to determine whether the noise level. On the day of the murder, Javier, Raul, and Eddie drove to Raul’s house, where Raul retrieved weapons. They smoked marijuana, and Javier proposed robbing Rosa, whom he had observed for days. Eddie claimed that Javier believed Rosa took the money home from her office daily to “cash checks for Mexicans who don’t have green cards.”

Enticed by the promise of money, Eddie agreed to participate with the Cortez brothers. They set out on foot, with Raul carrying a bag of weapons and supplies. Arriving at Rosa’s house, Eddie knocked on the door, posing as someone searching for a lost puppy. Once Rosa answered, Raul and Javier barged in, pushed her down, and handcuffed her. They moved Rosa to her bedroom, where Raul taped her hands, demanding information about the alarm code and keys to Cliff’s Check Cashing. He killed her after she divulged the necessary codes.

After Rosa divulged the alarm code, Raul killed her before opening fire when the three unlucky teenagers arrived. Raul then ordered Eddie to shoot two of the boys while he killed the third. The trio then drove to Cliff’s Check Cashing, where the alarm went off after Rosa had supplied them with a false alarm code. Unable to locate the safe, they drove Matt’s truck to Raul’s house before heading south on Highway 75 toward Dallas. Raul abandoned the truck there, wiping fingerprints, and disposed of the guns.

Where Is Raul Cortez Now?

Following Eddie’s testimony, he was arrested along with the Cortez brothers on varying charges related to the crime. The forensic investigators also connected Raul to the murder after his DNA was found on the pieces of a latex glove that had been stuck to the duct tape around Rosa’s head. He was convicted of the offense of capital murder for killing Austin while committing robbery and burglary on February 2, 2009.

He was sentenced to death on February 4. Javier was not charged in the deaths but served a four-year federal sentence on a firearms charge. Eddie was handed three concurrent 20-year sentences after pleading guilty to three counts of murder in February 2010. He was handed a lighter sentence owing to his cooperation and history of mental diseases. Raul, 42, has extinguished all his appeals and remains on death row at Allan B. Polunsky Unit.

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