Jose Varela Wiki – Jose Varela Biography
Jose Varela was sentenced to 45 years in prison after pleading guilty to murder for killing 22-year-old Zuhyr Hamza Kaleem on April 27, 2019.
“This was a premeditated murder that left a family wondering what happened to their loved one for more than a year,” Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said in a statement. “With the help of the victim’s family and great police work, we were able to obtain justice in this horrible case.” Varela and Kaleem had been classmates at Cypress Lakes High School and had agreed to meet at Varela’s house to make a deal for marijuana. When Kaleem arrived, Varela and another man, Eric Aguilar, closed the garage door to make the deal, and Aguilar shot Kaleem to death. Aguilar reportedly claimed that Kaleem pointed a gun at them and that the gun went off when he tried to grab it, local ABC affiliate KTKR reported. Varela and Aguilar took Kaleem’s body to Grimes County, where they were burned, prosecutors said.
Jose Varela is 24 years old.
Varela then drove Kaleem’s car to Mexico and dumped him, authorities said. Kaleem’s family filed a missing person report. They were baffled by the disappearance of his son, a Lone Star College student who hoped to attend the University of Houston, KTRK reported. “But it’s like, what really happened?” his father, Kaleem Ahmed, said then. “We know where he is going: to a friend, where he is going to eat, where he is going to visit a place. It is just unusual for him to be away for so long.” Prosecutors said Varela was linked to the case when the victim’s brothers used his experience as software engineers to identify him as the last person to have contact with Kaleem, officials said. A year after the murder, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office announced the recovery of Kaleem’s remains from a property in Grimes County and charges in the case, authorities said.
Aguilar was sentenced to life in prison without parole in November. The trial of a third suspect, Austin Walker, is pending. He is scheduled to appear in court on Thursday. A fourth man, who lived on the property where the remains were found, allegedly admitted to burying the body and was charged with tampering, according to KTRK. “These defendants thought they had gotten away with it and had moved on with their lives, but they had not counted on the victim’s siblings and law enforcement relentlessly searching for Kaleem’s whereabouts,” said Assistant District Attorney Tiffany Dupree. “This family spent an entire year pining, praying for their loved one to come home only to find out that his remains had been burned because of some marijuana and a couple hundred dollars.” Kaleem’s family and friends organized a fundraiser to build a water filtration plant in Pakistan so he can continue “accomplishing eternal good works by helping those in need.” “Those who knew him personally will tell you how much Zuhyr was a light in their lives,” the site said.