Mission, Peñitas trio indicted for July murder

Joel Martinez | jmartinez@themonitor.com. Edna Rivera and Julio Cesar Deleon.

A Hidalgo County grand jury has indicted two men and a woman on charges of capital murder for the July kidnapping and killing of a 23-year-old man.

Alfredo Huerta, 20, of Mission, Julio Cesar Deleon, 25, of Peñitas, and Edna Rivera, 28, of Mission, are accused of orchestrating the July 24 killing of Fernando Garza Jr., who was found dead with a gunshot wound to his face in an orchard between Mile 11 and Mile 12 on Iowa Road.

Probable cause affidavits detail how, after the killing, Huerta encountered the victim’s father, Fernando Garza Sr., and told the distraught father who was searching for his son that he, Fernando Garza Jr., and a man named Luis Domingo Dominguez had been kidnapped.

“(Huerta) stated that (Deleon) had shot and killed Fernando in an orchard and that he and (Dominguez) managed to escape,” a probable cause affidavit stated.

Dominguez has not been charged in the case, according to court records.

Alfredo Huerta

That story, however, did not match up with what Rivera — who was arrested along with Deleon the same day Fernando Garza Jr.’s body was found — told investigators.

She told authorities that she helped Deleon and Huerta bind the man’s hands with another man she only knew as “Gordo,” according to charging documents.

The affidavits do not identify Dominguez as “Gordo” and a search of court records did not reveal a fourth suspect in the case.

Investigators did interview Dominguez, who said Huerta and Deleon bound him and Garza at gunpoint in Rivera’s Mission residence and took them to the orchard where Deleon shot and killed Garza, according to the probable cause affidavit.

“(Deleon) and (Huerta) took him to a separate location where the vehicle was left behind,” the affidavit stated.

That document provides no details on whether Dominguez was let go or escaped or how he ended up with Huerta when the men encountered the victim’s father, Fernando Garza Sr.

Authorities arrested Huerta nearly a week after the killing, on July 31.

Both Rivera and Deleon are also facing several drug charges and several probable cause affidavits detail how investigators found methamphetamine, marijuana and Xanax inside two black duffle bags inside Rivera’s Mission residence, where Garza had been staying.

Huerta is scheduled for arraignment on a single charge of capital murder on Thursday while arraignment dates for Rivera and Deleon had not been set, court records indicate.

Deleon and Huerta remain incarcerated without bond on a charge of capital murder while Rivera, who has a $500,000 bond on the charge, also remains jailed.