A 20-year-old Texas man stands accused of beating his live-in boyfriend to death after a violent altercation.
The suspect, Bryan Canchola, has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of 18-year-old Stephen Sylvester, The Austin American-Statesman reports. Austin police found Sylvester unconscious at the apartment he and Canchola shared near the University of Texas in the early hours of July 17. He later died at the hospital from head trauma, according to the publication.
The couple's roommate, who was subleasing a bedroom in the apartment, told police that Canchola and Sylvester had returned home around 3:30 a.m. after a night of partying and could be heard fighting. The argument between the two had escalated, the roommate said, when an "extremely intoxicated" Canchola accused Sylvester of being unfaithful, CBS News reported.
After the fight, the roommate discovered Sylvester bleeding from the back of the head and drove him to nearby University Medical Center Brackenridge, but Sylvester reportedly left before receiving any medical treatment. When the roommate couldn't locate Sylvester, he returned to the apartment to find the door closed, and then went to a friend's apartment to call the police, fearing the worst, according to USA Today.
After a half hour later, Canchola called 911 to report that Sylvester was unconscious and bleeding from the back of the head. At about 6:30 a.m. authorities arrived and rushed Sylvester to the hospital, where he died, according to The Austin American-Statesman. An autopsy indicated that he had suffered bleeding on the brain and a neck fracture.
USA Today reports that Canchola had texted his stepfather at some point during the evening, indicating that he was "scared, in trouble and did not know what to do." In an affidavit cited by the publication, police noted that Canchola had apparent blood on his lips, hands and feet when they arrived on the scene.
Canchola's co-worker told the San Antonio Express-News that Canchola and Sylvester had been together for about two months, but had not been previously violent in their relationship.
Meanwhile, ex-boyfriend Taylor Shirley described Sylvester as a "very big-hearted and trusting person" in an interview with the New York Daily News, noting, "Whenever he met people, he trusted them way too easily and I think this was just one of those things. He trusted the wrong person and it cost him his life."
Canchola is in custody with bond set at $500,000, according to USA Today.