EDINBURG — The trial for Jesus Angel Rebollar, the man charged in the slayings of a Rio Grande City man and a 3-year-old boy, was pushed to September after the prosecutor said the ongoing investigation into their deaths could reveal exculpatory evidence.
Visiting state District Judge Jose Longoria granted the state’s motion during a hearing Wednesday morning out of precaution for the possible emergence of exculpatory evidence — or evidence that could help exonerate Rebollar.
Rebollar is charged with capital murder in the November 2016 deaths of Hector Garcia Jr., 42, and his son Julian Garcia, 3. They were gunned down by several individuals in a truck north of Rio Grande City.
So far, Rebollar is the only individual to have been charged as having been involved with the crime.
However, Assistant District Attorney Gilberto Hernandez-Solano, with the 229th District Attorney’s Office, said the Texas Rangers were continuing to investigate the case and had interviewed another potential suspect last week.
“There’s also the issue of a latent fingerprint that they are trying to compare to suspects,” Hernandez-Solano said.
Additionally, he noted that prosecutors had not reviewed all the files from other law-enforcement agencies related to those other possible suspects.
“As to whether that’s exculpatory or not, I cannot tell that to the court because I have not yet seen those reports,” he said.
Rebollar’s defense attorney, O. Rene Flores, said he opposed the continuance, arguing that whether or not the fingerprint matched another suspect would not be exculpatory to Rebollar.
“So unless I misunderstood or unless there is some other evidence that they are looking into that might be exculpatory, we are not in agreement,” Flores said, noting that fingerprint already excluded Rebollar.
“Further, they had over two-and-a-half years to prepare for this case,” Flores continued, “for counsel to suggest to this court that this investigation is ongoing and that there are files he has to review and that the Texas Rangers continue to interview witnesses is of no consequence and should be trumped by client’s right to a speedy trial.”
While Flores agreed with the importance of it, he opposed the continuance unless prosecutors had specific evidence they believed was exculpatory.
“If there is something else out there, then I can’t agree with the court more that it is important.”
Citing a responsibility to ensure Rebollar received any exculpatory evidence, Longoria granted the motion, moving the trial date to Sept. 23.
“I’ve got to make sure all information is provided to the defense,” Longoria said. “If there’s something that exculpates your client, you need that.”