Where Are Killers Leo Little and Jose Zavala Now?

In January 1998, a senseless crime led to the loss of Christopher Chavez’s life in San Antonio, Texas. The young man was kidnapped and held at gunpoint before being savagely murdered on a desolate road. Netflix’s ‘I am a Killer: An Ordinary Boy’ focuses on the slaying and features interviews with the people involved. So, if you’re curious about the circumstances surrounding Christopher’s death and what happened in the aftermath, we’ve got you covered.

How Did Christopher Chavez Die?

Christopher Chavez was born in March 1975 in Bexar County, Texas. The 22-year-old was much loved by his peers, and at the time, he was a ministerial servant for a Jehovah’s Witnesses congregation. The young man was at a restaurant, having dinner with some other congregation members sometime in January 1998, but he could never have imagined what would happen next.

Image Credit: Find a Grave/A Friend

On January 23, 1998, Christopher was kidnapped at gunpoint by another man who forced him to drive away at gunpoint. This happened outside the restaurant, and Christopher’s fate was sealed sometime later. He was shot in the back of the head with a .25-caliber firearm and then dumped on the side of a country road about 30 miles from San Antonio. Christopher was still alive despite the wounds when someone found him the following day. He was airlifted to a hospital immediately but succumbed to his injuries.

Who Killed Christopher Chavez?

As per the show, the authorities found two shell casings at the crime scene and noticed drag marks leading to where Christopher was found. The motive appeared to be robbery, but the police weren’t sure why it ended with the 22-year-old’s death. Soon, a tip led them to arrest Leo Little, then a 17-year-old. Leo had a tough childhood, with his parents separating when he was about ten.

Jose and Leo

As Leo grew up, he got into trouble at school and was arrested for trespassing and shoplifting. As per the show, he even began using drugs and wanted to be a gang member. On January 23, 1998, Leo was with a friend, Jose Zavala, and they wanted to buy drugs. However, they didn’t have money, so they decided to rob someone for it. As Leo and Jose were driving around, they stopped in the parking lot of a restaurant, and Jose went in to use the restroom.

Just then, Leo observed Christopher in a suit, leaving a bag in his car before going into the restaurant. Leo resolved to rob Christopher and got into the vehicle’s backseat. As per the show, Christopher’s car was unlocked, and Leo left a note for Jose to follow Christopher’s car. The 22-year-old returned minutes later and was surprised by a gun-toting man in his backseat who forced him to drive out of the parking lot.

They first went to Christopher’s apartment and later to a gas station. According to the show, Christopher told Leo that if he needed money, it was in a bag in the backseat. The money was the church collection from that day. Leo made Christopher drive about 30 miles southeast of San Antonio before asking him to pull over, with Jose close behind. After getting out of the vehicle, he shot Christopher execution-style, and Jose helped drag the body away from the road.

After that, Leo and Jose drove both the cars to a friend’s house, where the former bragged about killing someone. One of Leo’s acquaintances then made an anonymous call to the police, resulting in his arrest. The authorities also learned of an eerily similar robbery about a week before the murder. Malachi Wurpts survived the attack, and as per the show, it was carried out by Leo and Jose. Leo forced Malachi from his bedroom to an ATM in the middle of the night before abandoning him in a rural area and his car about a mile away.

Where Are Leo Little and Jose Zavala Today?

In February 1999, Leo was convicted of capital murder; the following month, he received the death sentence. Jose was found guilty of the same charge, and in September 1999, he received a life sentence. In 2005, the Supreme Court outlawed the execution of criminals who were juveniles when they committed the crime. As a result, Leo’s death sentence was commuted to life in prison. Records indicate that he remains incarcerated at the H. H. Coffield Unit in Tennessee Colony, Texas. Leo turned to God while behind bars and is currently a practicing minister. As for Jose, he is serving his sentence at the James V. Allred Unit in Iowa Park, Texas. Both will be eligible for parole in 2038.

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