Oscar Diaz Cerna sat quietly in his seat Monday as four years’ worth of hurt and anger poured out from members of Jacob Wayne Duffee’s family.
Cerna, 27, pleaded guilty to a count of murder in connection with Duffee’s September 2017 slaying in exchange for a 45-year prison sentence.
He will have to serve at least half of his sentence before he is eligible to apply for parole.
As part of his plea, a second charge of tampering with evidence was dismissed.
Cerna’s charge stems from a Lubbock police investigation that began when Duffee’s body was found Oct. 31 in a water drainage culvert near the intersection of Magnolia Avenue and 44th Street.
Duffee’s body was discovered after a witness told police Cerna’s father, Oscar P. Cerna, whom she was dating at the time, told her he helped his son dispose of Duffee’s body.
Lubbock police believe the younger Cerna invited Duffee in September to his Lubbock apartment in the 3500 block of 49th Place and shot him in the head. Cerna worked for Duffee, who owned a landscaping business, according to an arrest warrant.
Meanwhile, Duffee’s family filed a missing persons report with the Levelland Police Department on Oct. 5.
Oscar Pena Cerna reportedly told police his son called him to pick him up in the area he left Duffee’s pickup truck. Police found the truck stuck in a ditch near the intersection of County Road 7570 and University Avenue.
Cerna said his son told him he shot Duffee in the face and asked for his help to dispose of his corpse. He reportedly admitted to helping his son take Duffee’s body to an area near the intersection of 50th Street and Magnolia Avenue and placing it in a water drainage hole, the warrant states.
Oscar Diaz Cerna denied to police he killed Duffee, the warrant states.
However, Lubbock police investigators found multiple blood stains on the walls of the Cerna’s apartment, including the bathroom, where Cerna’s father reportedly told police he saw Duffee’s body, the warrant states.
Investigators also collected a small caliber bullet shell casing in the living room.
Both father and son were arrested Oct. 31, 2017, and booked into the Lubbock County Detention Center.
Oscar Pena Cerna faces a count of tampering with evidence and retaliation in connection with the case. Prosecutors declined to comment further, citing the older Cerna’s pending case.
Oscar Pena Cerna was released Jan.18, 2018, on a reduced bond. However, he was arrested and charged with retaliation after investigators believed he threatened the witness who called the police with information of Duffee’s body. Cerna remains held at the Lubbock County Detention Center.
Prosecutor Barron Slack said he was pleased with the result of the case, but declined further comment, citing Oscar Pena Cerna’s pending case.
After Judge Douglas Freitag imposed…