Spring Branch Man Receives Two Life Sentences for 2017 Double Homicide

Jo-Carolyn Goode | 6/27/2024, 4:23 p.m.
In a decisive ruling that brings long-awaited justice to the victims' families, Herbert James Simon, 42, from Spring Branch, has …
Herbert James Simon

In a decisive ruling that brings long-awaited justice to the victims' families, Herbert James Simon, 42, from Spring Branch, has been sentenced to two life terms by state District Judge Andrea Beall. Simon's conviction stems from his involvement in the tragic deaths of Robert Cerda and Rachel Delarosa in December 2017, a case that has profoundly affected the local community.

A Night of Terror

On the fateful evening of December 11, 2017, Robert Cerda and Rachel Delarosa, both 29, were enjoying a date at a seafood restaurant in Spring Branch. Their joyful night took a dark turn when they decided to visit a nearby barber shop, a familiar gathering spot for Cerda and his friends. This ordinary outing soon spiraled into a horrific ordeal.

The Cold-Blooded Crimes

While inside the barber shop, Simon drew a handgun and shot Cerda multiple times, ending his life in a brutal attack. Delarosa, who was outside, was forcibly taken into the shop and held against her will. Jurors found Simon guilty of murder for Cerda's death and aggravated kidnapping for detaining Delarosa. Simon's accomplice, Josue Casco, is currently in federal custody and expected to face trial for capital murder in Harris County

A Gruesome Discovery

Casco's involvement extended the horror. He forced Delarosa into his car, drove her to a secluded rural area near Fresno, and murdered her using the same gun that killed Cerda. Delarosa’s body was discovered just 90 minutes after her dinner with Cerda, following gunshots heard by Fort Bend County residents. Surveillance footage of a car leaving the scene was crucial in linking Casco to the crime.

Cover-Up and Investigation

After the murders, Casco returned to the barber shop with supplies to clean up the crime scene and dispose of Cerda's body. The bodies were dumped in separate rural locations, with Cerda’s being found near the Eastex Freeway the next day. Despite an initial lack of leads, the case was revived in 2022 thanks to a tip that finally identified Simon and Casco as the perpetrators.

Legal Proceedings and Justice

Assistant District Attorneys Lisa Calligan and Samantha Knecht, division chiefs in the DA’s Office, led the prosecution against Simon. Their presentation of compelling evidence, including eyewitness accounts and surveillance footage, ensured a unanimous conviction. Calligan reflected on the importance of the verdict, stating, “We know from the physical evidence and the witnesses that this is exactly what happened, and we are thankful the jury convicted this defendant of both crimes.”

Community Relief and Looking Ahead

The sentencing of Simon marks a significant step toward justice and closure for the victims' families and the Spring Branch community. The relentless efforts of law enforcement and prosecutors demonstrate a commitment to holding all involved accountable. As Casco awaits his trial, the pursuit of complete justice continues.

Houston Style Magazine remains dedicated to providing updates on this case and other important community news. Stay connected with us for more stories that matter to our readers.

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