Houston Teen Pleads Guilty to Murder of Transgender Woman, Receives Life Sentence

Houston Teen Pleads Guilty to Murder of Transgender Woman, Receives Life Sentence
Oscar Sierra

This week 19-year-old Oscar Ariel Sierra pleaded guilty to the murder of 39-year-old Marisela Castro, a transgender woman, in east Houston back in 2022. The plea came in the midst of Sierra’s capital murder trial, as announced by Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg.

Describing the crime as “cold-blooded” and “cowardly,” District Attorney Ogg expressed satisfaction in Sierra receiving a life sentence for his actions.

A jury was selected Tuesday for the capital murder trial of 19-year-old Oscar Ariel Sierra, and testimony had begun when Sierra opted to plead guilty to murder in exchange for a life sentence instead of letting the jury decide his fate.

Victim: Marisela Castro

Sierra admitted to fatally shooting Castro on July 9, 2022, after luring her online to a meeting with the intention to rob her.

The tragic incident unfolded as Castro was driving Sierra around in her sedan, with a stop at a fast-food drive-thru included. However, the encounter took a deadly turn when they reached a dark street near Herman Brown Park. Surveillance footage revealed Sierra exiting the vehicle with a gun, shooting Castro in the back of the head before fleeing the scene in her car.

Assistant District Attorneys Tiffany Dupree and Katie Warren, who are both division chiefs in the DA’s Office, prosecuted Sierra.

“This wasn’t a case that was solved in the first 48 hours, but rather took the dedication and persistence of Houston Police Department’s homicide detectives, who left no stone unturned,” Dupree said. “As a result, we were able to successfully prosecute the brutal execution of Marisela Castro, holding the defendant accountable for his horrible actions and ensuring justice for her and her family.”

Sierra, who was 17 at the time of the shooting, opted for a guilty plea to murder, foregoing a trial. While he will be eligible for parole after 30 years, Sierra forfeits any chance of appealing his conviction or sentence.