Defendant who killed, set on fire two men in Fort Worth accepts murder plea bargain

A man alleged by his driver to have shot a perceived snitch and stabbed another before participating in setting both bodies on fire in south Fort Worth in 2020 last week pleaded guilty to two counts of murder.

George Vasquez was in total sentenced to 40 years in prison under the terms of a plea bargain offered by the Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office. The state waived the capital murder of multiple people count on which Vasquez was also indicted.

With two other men, Vasquez was indicted in the killings of Snay Gay, 26, and Za Htoo, 23. The victims’ bodies were found on Oct. 10, 2020.

Vasquez, who is 21, on Monday pleaded guilty in Criminal District Court No. 3. If he had been convicted of capital murder at trial, a jury would have considered a sentence of between five and 99 years or life. The state waived the death penalty.

Burmese immigrants who lived together in Fort Worth, Htoo and Gay were separately killed and later set on fire near railroad tracks in a park and, about three miles away, in an alley between houses.

An account of the killings offered by one of two codefendants in the case is included in arrest warrant affidavits that a Fort Worth police detective wrote. In an interview with detectives, Jesus Hernandez described driving Vasquez and Ma Gay to the homicide scenes.

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The capital murder cases of Hernandez, 25, and Ma Gay, 22, are unresolved. Assistant Criminal District Attorney Robert Huseman is prosecuting the case. Defense attorneys Gary Smart and Brian Poe were appointed to represent Vasquez.

Snay Gay and Htoo were slain because their assailants believed that the victims were snitches, according to Hernandez.

A couple passing by in Echo Lake Park found Snay Gay’s body near railroad tracks about 50 yards from a walking path. When police arrived, the 26-year-old’s body still smoldered. He had been stabbed in his chest, abdomen and neck.

Htoo’s body was in high grass in the 4700 block of South Adams Street. The 23-year-old victim had been shot and was face down in one of two areas of the alley that had been set on fire.

Hernandez said that he drove his vehicle with Vasquez and a person police suggest was Htoo to a location he later pointed out as the South Adams Street alley. Vasquez and Htoo got out of the car, and Vasquez shot him, according to Hernandez’s account described in the affidavit.

Vasquez later bragged to others that “he caught a body.” Ma Gay, who Hernandez knows as Sawhtoo, was pleased, according to the affidavit.

Hernandez said that Vasquez later admitted to stabbing Snay Gay, although Hernandez did not use the victim’s name.

Hernandez said that hours later he drove Ma Gay and Vasquez to both locations so that they could burn the bodies and destroy evidence. Hernandez told detectives that he believed the killings had to do with the victims being snitches, according to the affidavit, which does not offer other information on such a motivation.

Hernandez said that at the alley, he saw Ma Gay and Vasquez move Htoo’s body away from the street.

The affidavit offers less information about the circumstances of Snay Gay’s death than it does on Htoo’s killing. It includes an account from Hernandez in which he describes driving Ma Gay and Vasquez to a residence where Vasquez walked an Asian man to the car. Hernandez said that he drove to Echo Lake Park, where Ma Gay and Vasquez walked the Asian man, who police suggest was Snay Gay, into brush.