Bond lowered for Mercedes man in brother’s death

Johnothon Gonzalez, Noel Alvarado, Isidro Rubiel Juarez, Juan Jesus Hernandez, Martin Torres Perez Jr.

EDINBURG — A visibly emotional Noel Alvarado cried as he stood before a judge Monday morning as his attorney went over the facts of his case.

Alvarado — standing accused of his own brother’s murder because of the Texas Law of Parties, which states that a person can be held criminally responsible for the actions of another in certain circumstances — had his bond reduced when a court granted a motion his attorney Rogelio Garza made.

On Monday, during a brief hearing, the court granted a $450,000 bond for Alvarado. He was initially given a $1 million bond earlier this month.

The 23-year-old man was charged in connection with his brother’s death earlier this month after police said Alvarado, his brother Emanuel Alvarado and several others, were involved in an alleged robbery-gone-wrong at a Weslaco home.

On Dec. 3, authorities responded to a call for service at Knapp Medical Center at roughly 12:45 a.m. in reference to a man, later identified as Emanuel Alvarado, who was suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.

When officers arrived, they spoke with Noel Alvarado, who drove his brother to the hospital shortly after the attempted robbery and subsequent shooting, which occurred near the 9900 block of N. Saltillo Circle, in rural Weslaco.

“Noel took Sheriff’s Investigators to the location where the aggravated robbery took place,” according to the charging document.

When investigators executed a search warrant, they saw “blood and bullet holes consistent with Noel’s account of the aggravated robbery and shooting of his brother, Emanuel,” the document stated.

During the robbery attempt, a man named Johnothon Gonzalez, 26, who lived in the home, disarmed Emanuel and shot him, police said.

Investigators also recovered surveillance video from a business on Mile 11 North and FM 88 “where Noel, Emanuel, and other male individuals stopped before going to the hospital; all consistent with Noel’s account of the incident.”

Gonzalez, the robbery target, has been charged with failure to report a felony resulting in death and tampering with physical evidence. He has been released on $40,000 in bonds, jail records show.

Gonzalez is accused of removing bullet casings from the scene.

In a voluntary statement, Gonzalez told investigators “that several armed men came into his house the night before and that after disarming one of them, shot him with his own gun. Johnothon added that he shot back with his .45 caliber handgun and then left along with his family,” the probable cause affidavit stated.

The man’s mother, however, told investigators that Gonzalez stayed behind at the residence and was there when she returned the following morning.

Investigators also noted that the number of casings they recovered did not match the number of bullet holes they examined.

In addition to Noel Alvardo, 21-year-old Mercedes resident Juan Jesus Hernandez and 23-year-old Weslaco resident Martin Torres Perez Jr. also face a murder charge, records show.

The alleged organizer of the fatal robbery, 30-year-old Isidro Rubiel Juarez, is wanted on a murder charge and should be considered armed and dangerous, authorities said in a release.

lzazueta@themonitor.com