Luke Christopher Pena murdered Gilbert Zepeda: authorities

A photo shows Luke Christopher Pena.

Luke Christopher Pena. (Image via Prison Mugshot.)

A Texas prison inmate is now facing murder charges for allegedly assaulting his cellmate while the victim slept. The victim languished in the hospital for almost three weeks before succumbing to his injuries on Wednesday, according to San Antonio CBS affiliate KENS.

According to a Bexar County court record reviewed by Law&Crime Luke Christopher Pena, 21, was charged with murder via a criminal complaint filed November 23, 2022. A grand jury indictment has not yet been issued, the records show.

A report from San Antonio ABC subsidiary KSAT says Pena attacked Gilbert Zepeda, 62, when Zepeda slept. Zepeda later died at Brooke Army Medical Center after a craniotomy unsuccessfully attempted to relieve a brain injury, the TV network said.

Zepeda died Wednesday at 4:35 p.m. from “cardiopulmonary arrest due to an assault,” according to a KSAT affidavit.

The Texas Rangers were called at 7:15 p.m. (believed to be the day of the attack, but the dates on available television reports are somewhat unclear) as an outside agency to investigate the matter.

KENS listed the attack date than Thursday, November 3rd. Also, Zepeda’s age was given as 61, rather than the 62 mentioned above.

A prison warden told a Texas Ranger that “Pena attacked his cellmate,” according to KSAT’s retelling of the affidavit.

Citing the same document, both have previously referenced TV channels — and NBC affiliate WOAI – all said Pena claimed Zepeda “didn’t respect” him in any way. The details and parameters of this alleged disregard are not explained in the available reports.

The reports also state collectively that Pena found Zepeda’s personal hygiene objectionable and that he planned to kill Zepeda.

“Pena admitted that he waited until Zepeda fell asleep before hitting him and trampling on his head,” KSAT reported. “He said it was an attempt to kill Zepeda.”

Authorities have charged Pena with murder, “deliberately and knowingly causing the death of Zepeda,” KSAT continued.

Pena is reportedly remaining in the Bexar County Jail pending a court hearing on January 18, 2023.

Other court documents reviewed by Law&Crime indicate that Pena was jailed on a number of previous charges dated October 30, 2022, including criminal mischief, kidnapping, theft, failure to quit and aggravated assault resulting in grievous bodily harm.

The reason Zepeda was in prison is not clear from the online inmate and court records.

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