Cold-Hearted Murder Caught on Tape, but Whom Would the Jury Believe?

In chilling fashion, Reyes proceeded to describe his version of Goodwin's death. "Hitting her, just hitting her, and I believe choking her, because when I was high on drugs, he was holding her, grabbing her."

For Goodwin's grieving family, having their daughter's name dragged through the mud by the defense was salt in their still-open wounds.

"For them to imply that she would just go in and pick up somebody, that is so absurd and it hurts so bad that they would even have the nerve to imply that about my daughter. The anger I had was like a mother bear with her claws out," Melanie's mother, Peggy Goodwin, told "Primetime."

For the jury, the story of a drug-crazy young woman, eager for sex with a complete stranger was already implausible, but the dubious story had numerous other holes. First, the medical examiner didn't find a single trace of drugs in Goodwin's system. Second, Goodwin was in a deeply committed relationship with a man she wanted to marry, Ale Valencia.

Surveillance Footage Shows Suspect Dump Body, Set It Afire

Also, despite Reyes' claim that Young was the mastermind behind the murder and that he forced Reyes to dispose of the body, Young didn't appear in a single frame of surveillance footage -- not even in the clearly visible backseat of the car as Reyes lit Goodwin's body ablaze.

Yet another hole in Reyes' story came from the victim herself in the form of a single trace of DNA. Although most of the crime scene evidence was destroyed, one critical piece of genetic material tying Reyes to the attack did not burn.

"The DNA evidence that we were able to get was from the vaginal smear. We were not able to get DNA necessarily from her clothes or from her hands. The fire had done a pretty good job, but it did not get that DNA," recalls Dallas County Prosecutor Andrea Handley.

The issue of consent was crucial to both sides in the trial. On one hand, the defense tried to convince the jury that this girl, in a committed and happy relationship, had willingly had sex with Reyes. Goodwin did not have any DNA under her fingernails, as do many rape victims who try to fend off their attackers by scratching or clawing at them.

The prosecution did not take this argument lying down. "It was important for me ... to be able to show that everything he said about her willingly getting in the backseat of her car is complete and utter nonsense. Not her. Maybe somebody. Not Melanie Goodwin," said Handley. "I had to prove it was not consensual sex."

Melanie's mother, Peggy, also took the stand in order to explain the apparent lack of a struggle. "She was so tiny that when her brother would wrestle with her and tickle her, he would hold both of her wrists in one hand," said Goodwin.

For Handley, Goodwin's testimony solidified their case against Reyes.

"That he was able to take hold of both her wrists and attack her that way ... she didn't have the opportunity to scratch anybody's eyes out. That's why she didn't have DNA under her nails. He held both of her wrists in his hand, while he beat her!" she told "Primetime."

Grieving Mom Embraces Killer's Family

The jury took three hours to reach a unanimous verdict: Ernesto Reyes was guilty of capital murder. Reyes was sentenced to life in prison, and is currently appealing the conviction. He has never admitted to the murder or apologized to Goodwin's family. Young was sentenced to eight years in prison for tampering with evidence.

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