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Choked to Death at Prom, Mother Says

HOUSTON (CN) - A teenager choked his prom date to death as they had sex while high on pills and alcohol supplied by his mom, the girl's mother claims in court.

Juana Barron claims she let her daughter Jacqueline Gomez go to the prom because her date's mother promised to chaperone the girl and bring her home right after the dance.

Barron sued Melissa Ann Martinez and her son Eddie Herrera on Monday in Harris County Court.

Barron says she became concerned when Martinez did not bring her daughter home after the MacArthur High School prom.

She called Martinez, who told her she was taking the teens to dinner, Barron says.

As the evening dragged on, Barron says, she repeatedly called Martinez, who assured her that her daughter was at her house.

"In fact, defendant Martinez rented rooms for her and her son Eddie Herrera at the Hyatt North Houston," the complaint states. "Defendant Martinez had also provided alcohol and prescription type drugs (believed to be hydrocodone) to her son defendant Herrera and to Jacqueline." (Parentheses in complaint.)

The prom was held at the same hotel, according to KHOU.com, the website of CBS affiliate KHOU-TV.

Martinez left the teens alone in the hotel room where they had sex while high on alcohol and hydrocodone, Barron says.

"To enhance the experience, defendant Herrera choked Jacqueline. In the course of choking Jacqueline, defendant Herrera caused her death," the lawsuit states.

Gomez was 17. Her mother seeks punitive damages for wrongful death and gross negligence and her own mental anguish. She also wants funeral expenses.

She is represented by Jay Winckler with Winckler and Harvey of Austin.

Seven months after Gomez died police arrested Herrera on charges of felony aggravated assault.

He admitted choking Gomez, but said she was awake when they went to sleep and he woke up to find her dead, KHOU reported.

Herrera, 19, is free on bond.

A Harris County grand jury indicted Martinez in March on two felony counts of supplying the teens with less than 1 gram of hydrocodone and two misdemeanor criminal negligence charges for buying them alcohol. One of the alcohol charges was disposed, court records show.

Martinez, 40, was arrested and bonded out. She was scheduled to make an initial court appearance today, April 14, according to Harris County Court records.

Herrera's criminal defense attorney Douglas O'Brien said both Herrera and his mother's cases have been set for a May 13 hearing.

"Eddie will enter a plea of 'not guilty' to the charges," O'Brien said. "Eddie did not choke her to death."

Barron's attorney was not immediately available to comment on the discrepancy between how the lawsuit says Gomez died and the story Herrera told police about her final hours.

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