Texas Father Of Four Turns Violent After Ex Moves On
“I could never imagine my dad turning into the monster he did,” says the daughter of Aldo Pacheco.
Texans Aldo and Barbara Pacheco and their children at first appeared to be one big happy family, but the illusion eventually would be shattered and end in a tragic double homicide.
In 1994, business student Aldo Pacheco met his future wife, Barbara, an aspiring teacher, at Angelo State University in San Angelo.
She initially introduced Aldo to family as just a friend. “When I shook his hand, my first reaction is that he was not good for her and he was not a good person, from day one,” recalls Barbara’s aunt, Eva Luna.
Barbara, unaware her family had any misgivings about the new guy in her life, began a romantic relationship with Aldo, and she soon became pregnant. The couple got married in May 1995, and six months later, they welcomed their daughter, Bonnie, into the world.
Aldo quit school and eventually got a job first as a car salesman and then at a prestigious country club in Midland. In December 1996, Barbara graduated from college and got a job as a kindergarten teacher.
Cracks began to show in the couple’s relationship around five years after Barbara and Aldo were hitched. One night, Eva recalls, her niece phoned and was crying because she suspected Aldo had been with a former girlfriend, and he hadn’t been home in days. Despite her suspicions, Barbara was intent on making sure their daughter Bonnie wouldn’t grow up without a father.
According to another of Barbara’s aunt, Mary Perez, Aldo was likely frustrated when he had to return to working as a car salesman. “He had long hours, and Barbara was working at what she wanted to do,” Perez says. “He started treating her different, like more resentful. It was all Barbara’s fault.”
Mary adds that she believes that while Aldo may not have abused his wife physically, mentally and emotionally, “I think he did.”
In the midst of their marital discord, Barbara got pregnant, and the couple welcomed a second daughter, Maddie. Just months later, Barbara was expecting again and she gave birth to twin boys, Elijah and Ryan, in September 2003.
“My mom made sure everyone thought everything was very perfect, but there was definitely a shift in the household,” Bonnie says, noting her father became irritable and seemed annoyed with tending to his children.
Eva says her brother-in-law became increasingly controlling of Barbara, who continued to pour her focus into her children and then her job after she returned to teaching.
In 2004, Barbara reached her breaking point with her husband after he became too aggressive with one of their twins during a birthday celebration. According to Eva, Barbara called and told her she talked to Aldo about getting separated. “I was relieved and scared at the same time,” Eva says of her niece’s resolve to end the relationship.
Aldo moved out, and Barbara and their children moved in with Eva.
As the divorce proceedings wore on, Aldo became fixated on getting full custody of his children with Barbara. According to Bonnie, her father would leave her mother messages that were “scary.”
Then, shortly before 8 a.m. on May 23, 2005, a 911 dispatcher in Odessa, Texas, received a call from Barbara, who claimed Aldo assaulted her, according to Midland County prosecutor Eric Kalenak.
Police photos show Barbara suffered multiple injuries to her face. Kalenak says Aldo had abducted Barbara in her car when she dropped off her twin sons with him. In a police audio recording, Barbara tells responding officers that Aldo “punched me and he was pulling me down… pulling my hair.”
When Barbara tried to escape the vehicle, Kalenak says Aldo pulled out a knife and forced her to the vehicle’s floorboard. Barbara was eventually able to flee after her estranged ex brought her to a hotel, where he had rented a room. “You wouldn’t treat a dog like this, much less a human being, and certainly not the mother of your children,” Kalenak says.
In letters to family, Aldo later threatened to kill Barbara and take his own life. In one note penned to his children, the father wrote: “You guys would be better off without us in your life.”
Despite Aldo’s arrest in connection with Barbara’s kidnapping and beating, he was released from prison after posting bond.
By the fall of 2005, Barbara seemed to have turned a corner, and she was spending more time with a divorced work colleague, special education teacher and father Eric Wiggs Jr. “I think they brought out the best in each other,” Bonnie says of her mother and Eric, who she recalls was “a good person.”
Barbara’s happier times would soon turn to horror, however. Around 2:30 p.m. on January 16, 2006, the Midland Police Department received a 911 call, on which a dispatcher heard what sounded like three gunshots.
Responding officers located 39-year-old Eric in the front yard of a residence and determined he had been shot to death. Barricaded inside the home, an armed Aldo told police over the phone he was with his son, Elijah, and estranged wife.
An officer who knew Aldo tried to speak with him on the phone. Aldo told the officer he shot Barbara’s boyfriend, and that he was “not gonna let them make an ass out of me anymore,” according to a police recording.
Sgt. BJ Land, a homicide negotiator with the Midland Police Department, was able to convince Aldo to release his son to officers. But as the hours passed, he refused to consider any further requests.
Land recalls at one point, she heard a gunshot and a SWAT made entry into the residence, where they found Barbara dead in a bedroom from what appeared to be two gunshot wounds.
They also located Aldo, who had suffered but survived a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the face. On Aldo’s hands, they noted he had written Eric’s license plate number and theorized Aldo had hunted him down before turning the gun on Barbara.
Following a four-day trial, on Nov. 16, 2006, Aldo, now 54, was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to life behind bars without the possibility of parole.
“He changed a lot of people’s lives that day,” Eva says of the double homicide.
“I could never imagine my dad turning into the monster he did,” says Aldo’s daughter, Bonnie. “I think he struggled with inner demons that I never saw before, and I think that he wanted so badly for things to go his way — but it would never go back to the way it was.”
“It’s shocking beyond description,” the brother of convicted killer Richard Merritt says of the case.