By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Jurors hear confession in fatal shooting
Tepancas defense seeks manslaughter verdict
Translator Melva Alvarado talks through a microphone to defendant Hugo Moguel Tepanca on Wednesday at the Hall County Superior Court. Tepanca is standing trial in the April 2008 shooting death of Jose Vargas. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

Presents for everyone


To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web browser that supports HTML5 video

About an hour into his interrogation, Hugo Moguel Tepanca broke down.

“I’ll tell you, I’ll tell you right now,” a tearful Tepanca told Hall County Sheriff’s Investigator Jason Crisp during his interview on suspicion of murder.

Then, as an interpreter translated, Tepanca said in Spanish, “I was the one that shot him.”

Why Tepanca shot 23-year-old Jose Vargas outside a Merck Street home on the night of April 20, 2008, is in dispute as his murder trial unfolds in Hall County Superior Court.

Authorities, pointing to Tepanca’s statements to the investigator, say the shooting occurred after Vargas disrespected him in traffic, looking at his wife wrong and making an obscene hand gesture.

Tepanca’s attorney, who hopes to secure a lesser verdict of manslaughter, maintains the shooting was the result of an earlier confrontation between the two men over a woman both were seeing.

On Wednesday, Hall County jurors heard Tepanca’s videotaped statement to sheriff’s investigators, following along with a transcript of the interview.

After confessing to shooting Vargas, Tepanca denied knowing him.

“Have you ever met this man before? Ever seen him before?” Crisp asked.

“No,” Tepanca answered.

Tepanca told the investigator that after he was insulted in traffic, he dropped his wife off and went back out. He met Vargas on the road “and he do it again,” Tepanca told the investigator.

It was then that Tepanca allegedly followed Vargas to a neighborhood and fired five shots at him from his truck after Vargas exited his car.

Crime scene investigator Cameron Durham testified that the evidence showed that Vargas was shot repeatedly in the chest before doubling over and being shot again. He died at the scene.

The state is expected to rest its case today.