HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Wednesday marks the two-year anniversary of the death of Lesley Maurice “Mo” Hunter.

On Oct 17, 2020, officers responded to the 3200 block of N. 77 Sunshine Strip in Harlingen where Hunter was found bleeding on the side of the road. Hunter told police that a man entered his home and stabbed him multiple times, according to police.

Nine days later, Hunter died from his wounds.

Juan Lozano, Angel Pizano and Eduardo Acevez were arrested in connection to the stabbing. Their charges were upgraded to murder after Hunter’s passing, a news release from Harlingen PD stated.

Hunter’s family reflects

On Tuesday, ValleyCentral spoke with Hunter’s family, who said the death of Maurice remains fresh in their mind.

According to Paulette Simpson, Hunter’s mother, the family grew up in the projects of Kingsville. Hunter became well-loved in the community, and also began developing his athleticism.

“If you tried to catch him, you couldn’t catch him,” Paulette Simpson said. “You had to be speedy yourself to catch Maurice at that time.”

The family moved to Harlingen in 1988, where Hunter would rise to stardom as a prominent football star at Harlingen High School.

“It came naturally to him from birth,” said Lisa Hunter, Maurice’s older sister.

Hunter, who his family knew as “Reecy,” had a record-breaking season in 1994. He rushed for 2,524 rushing yards and 41 touchdowns for the Harlingen Cardinals. Hunter would lead the team to a 9-0-1 record, and set the single-game rushing record in the Valley with 366 yards, a post by Commissioner Gus Ruiz stated.

Lowell Simpson, Hunter’s brother, said that football was a big part of his life early on — but he also developed a love for fishing.

The family was in Houston when they first received word of the stabbing, Hunter’s mother said.

“I remember the day I got the phone call,” she said. “I received the call and I was still asleep, but I heard what was said and it just took me. I froze.”

Hunter would travel to Wisconsin for work, but travelled back to Harlingen to celebrate his daughter’s birthday, Lisa told ValleyCentral.

During his return, the football star was stabbed several times and subsequently hospitalized. Lisa called Maurice a fighter, but the family was faced with making the difficult decision to “let him go,” Lisa said.

“He couldn’t fight any more,” she said. “With the damages that were done to him, he couldn’t fight anymore. It’s the manner of how he died that’s really something I’ll never get over.”

Harlingen police announced that Lozano, Pizano and Aceves were arrested the same day as the stabbing. Their bonds were set at $1 million, according to Cameron County District Attorney Luis V. Saenz.

What’s ahead

Lozano and Pizano’s trial is set for Nov. 28, the Cameron County District Attorney’s Office stated. The trial for Aceves has not yet been scheduled.

The family says they struggle to find comfort, even as the trials near.

“There’s no relief for me,” Lisa said. “There would be no relief for me because by them being put away he’s not coming back.”

“The only thing we have left is memories. I’ll never be there to say touch him or hear his voice again,” Paulette said.

When asked what kind of legacy Hunter left behind, his family said it was his willingness to lend a helping hand with a smile.

“My brother, when he spoke to people, he would do it with a smile. That was very unique and characteristic about him,” Lowell said.

According to his family, Hunter’s legacy will be carried on by his three daughters, who they say are talented just like he was. His oldest daughter, Chloe, is playing D1 Lacrosse for the University of Pennsylvania.