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Man who beat Army veteran to death sentenced to life in prison

HOUSTON – A man who beat an Army veteran to death in 2015 was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office said Friday.

Josue Angel Leal, 26, was convicted Thursday afternoon following a five-day trial. Jurors convicted Leal in 23 minutes and then he was automatically sentenced.

“This vicious predator should never again step foot in our community,” Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said. “We thank the jurors for their service in seeing that justice was done in this senseless attack.”

In December 2015, Leal attacked Kevin A. Bartelt, 43, at Bartelt’s home on Chelsea Elm Court.

Leal was driving the victim’s car at the time he was arrested.

Authorities said the soles of sneakers he wore during the murder matched patterned injuries left on Bartelt’s head and body because he’d been kicked so viciously.

Leal was on parole at the time, and had recently been released from prison after a four-year sentence for burglary.

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The Harris County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release Friday that Bartelt was a Good Samarita, who opened his Houston home to homeless people who needed a place to stay. Leal had lived at Bartelt’s home off and on for a few weeks.

Evidence presented at trial showed that after Leal murdered Bartelt, he used Bartelt’s credit card to buy Whataburger and a gaming console.

Bartelt served in First Gulf War. He was a combat engineer assigned to the 1st Armored Division, VII Corps, Army.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Alycia Harvey and Assistant District Attorney George Lindsey, who is an Army combat veteran and served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“On the eve of this Fourth of July, the Harris County District Attorney’s Offices, along with the people of Harris County, were able to deliver justice for a veteran who was murdered not because he was a soldier, but, for his humanity,” Lindsey said.

Copyright 2021 by KPRC Click2Houston – All rights reserved.

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