A 20-year-old college student is suspected of bludgeoning his boyfriend to death during a domestic dispute at their Austin, Texas, apartment after the young couple returned from a night of drinking, authorities believe.
Bryan Canchola punched 19-year-old Stephen Sylvester, who was already seriously wounded from their fight, in the face and then threw drinking glasses at him as he left for the hospital, according to KVUE-TV.
The recent graduate of Marble Falls High School died at a local hospital from injuries sustained while allegedly protecting his beloved dog, Harlow, from his combative boyfriend.
“I can’t imagine why somebody would try to hurt him or his dog,” Sylvester’s ex-boyfriend, Taylor Shirley, told the Daily News.
Sylvester and Canchola had not been dating long before Friday’s fatal assault, Shirley said.
“Stephen was a very big hearted and trusting person and so 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,” Shirley added.
Stephen Sylvester, 18, died at a local hospital after Austin police said Bryan Canchola called 911 to report he was unconcious and bleeding from the head.
The former couple broke up in December, but kept in touch.
Shirley heard of Sylvester’s death within hours of the brutal killing and immediately called Sylvester’s relatives. He learned that Sylvester’s new partner, Canchola, was believed responsible for the attack.
Canchola is being held at Travis County Correctional Complex on murder charges in connection to Sylvester’s death, jail records show.
A roommate at the GrandMarc Austin building told authorities he woke at about 4:13 a.m. Friday to what sounded like a violent shoving and shouting match between Sylvester and Canchola over fidelity, according to court documents obtained by KVUE-TV.
Their residence is less than two blocks from the University of Texas at Austin, but Canchola is a student at St. Mary’s University, according to his Facebook page.
Management of the student housing near the University of Texas at Austin acknowledged the killing and said the victim and suspect knew each other and an arrest had been made.
The roommate warned them once to calm down, but when he heard Sylvester cry out, “Let the dog go,” and then the victim’s dog, Harlow, yelp with fright, he barged in and found the bedroom’s walls splattered with blood, the TV station reported.
Even more blood was pouring down the back of Sylvester’s head and soaking his shirt.
Sylvester briefly checked into University Medical Center Brackenridge, but returned to the apartment he shared with Canchola without seeing a doctor.
It’s there Canchola later called 911 to report Sylvester had fallen unconscious and was bleeding from a wound on the back of his head. He later died after being taken back to the hospital, authorities said.
The building’s management kept other residents apprised of the crime scene by posting letters dated Friday that the victim and suspect knew each other and an arrest had been made.