Mission man accused in murder, kidnapping appears in court

Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office deputies led a shackled 20-year-old Mission man who clutched an indictment out of a courtroom Wednesday morning as the grieving family of his alleged victim hugged and cried just feet away.

Alfredo Huerta was scheduled to be arraigned on a charge of capital murder for his alleged role in the July 24 kidnapping and killing of 23-year-old Fernando Garza Jr.

Instead of entering an expected not guilty plea to the charge, state District Judge Letty Lopez reset the arraignment at the request of defense attorney Daniel R. Reyes because Huerta was served his indictment in open court.

Defendants must have their indictment two days before an arraignment unless their attorney waives the two days, which happens frequently.

That was not the case Wednesday. Instead, Huerta will return to court Monday to be arraigned on the charge.

Sheriff’s investigators arrested Huerta nearly a week after taking 25-year-old Peñitas resident Julio Cesar Deleon and 28-year-old Mission resident Edna Rivera into custody, which happened the same day authorities discovered Fernando Garza Jr.’s lifeless body in an orchard with a gunshot wound to his face.

After the murder, authorities say that Huerta encountered the victim’s father, Fernando Garza Sr., who was searching for his son, who was only considered missing at the time, according to probable cause affidavits.

Huerta told the distraught father that he 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,” the charging document read.

Dominguez has not been charged.

Rivera told investigators that she helped Deleon and Huerta bind the hands of Garza and another man she only knew as “Gordo,” according to probable cause affidavits.

Dominguez told investigators that Huerta and Deleon bound him and Garza at gunpoint inside Rivera’s Mission home and then took the pair to an orchard where Deleon shot and killed Garza, according to the charging documents.

Deleon and Rivera are scheduled for arraignment next Monday.