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Murder of 3 members of the close-knit Contreras family by James Tinsley investigated by The Interrogator

Mugshot of James Tinsley IV
James Tinsley was convicted of the murder of three members of the Contreras family. Pic credit: Houston Police Dept.

In January 2015, James Tinsley burst into the Immaculate Auto Sales car dealership in north Houston. He shot dead three members of the close-knit Contreras family who were running the business. He then tried to burn the dealership down.

Tinsley murdered two brothers, Jesse, 51,  and Tony Contreras, 60, and Tony’s son Casey Contreras, 22; Casey had recently become a new father of twins. Anthony, another son of Tony’s, was supposed to be working that day but was ill, so he had stayed at home.

Tinsley had previously purchased a car from the family-owned business. Unfortunately, he was unable to keep up with the payments, and the vehicle was repossessed. Tinsley, aggrieved by this situation, decided to take his anger out on the three victims.

“It’s really pathetic. I’ll never understand. Their lives didn’t have to be taken, it’s not like they died from an illness where it couldn’t have been prevented,” said Casey Contreras, the sister of 22-year-old Jesse.

A fourth employee, Mauricio Grimaldo, had been out on an errand when he returned he discovered the bodies; Casey was still alive at this stage, but later died in hospital. Grimaldo spotted Tinsley across the street who had started moving towards the employee, Tinsley then seemed to change his mind, as he turned and fled.

Tinsley was arrested for the murder after he confessed to his girlfriend, who then informed the police.

A surveillance camera shot footage of Tinsley walking into the dealership with a backpack from which he then removes a firearm and begins shooting at the three victims. Tinsley is then seen taking out a gas can and attempting to set fire to the building.

Tinsley was convicted of capital murder and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. His life sentence includes a maximum of 7000 years to be served, and his projected release date is 1/1/5555.

Catch the details of the case on The Interrogator at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery.


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