Bond reduction hearing reset for San Juan murder suspect

EDINBURG — A San Juan man who is one of five suspects facing murder charges had his bond hearing reset Thursday during a brief hearing inside the 370th state District Court.

State District Judge Noe Gonzalez denied Armando Adrian Arebalo’s attorney’s motion for a bond reduction after the state, represented by Vance Gonzales and Mauricio A. Martinez, announced that federal agents had placed a hold on Arebalo on a pending drug case.

Gonzalez said if and when Arebalo has a bond set in the federal case, he would consider setting a bond in his state case.

The court reset the case for Feb. 20, when the court will take up Arebalo’s bond reduction motion.

The 31-year-old man and four others, Alex Arevalo, Avero Olivarez Alaniz, Roberta Martinez and Monica Ann Winkle Gomez, are accused in connection with the shooting death of 41-year-old McAllen resident Nicolas Anthony Bazan in June 2017.

McAllen police found Bazan’s body after the department received calls of gunshots at about 12:42 a.m. on June 19, 2017 and from a homeowner in the 1400 block of West Vine Avenue, who reported hearing an unknown man in his backyard calling for help.

Surveillance camera footage taken in the area showed a light-colored van traveling south in the 2100 block of North Main Street suddenly slow down, with the victim then exiting the driver’s side area of the van and running away, according to the criminal complaint.

Alex Arevalo later told police he shot Bazan in the van while the four other suspects were inside, the complaint read.

During the investigation, which unfolded over the course of two months, one of Bazan’s brothers told authorities the man had “a large “wad” of cash on him on June 18, 2017, and “a large amount of meth and cash” on June 16.

Arevalo’s wife also told investigators that her husband and 51-year-old McAllen resident Avero Olivarez Alaniz planned to rob Bazan after seeing him with money at the Orchard Lounge.

Earlier this week, Jan. 14, Arebalo, and Winkle Gomez were in court for their respective court hearings; during which time the court reset Arebalo’s hearing to the aforementioned Thursday hearing, records show.

Winkle Gomez, on the other hand, who was in court to have her bond reduced in the capital murder case, had her request for bond reduction denied after the state’s prosecutors advised the court that Winkle Gomez was arrested as recently as Jan. 1 after she failed to identify to police when they arrived on the scene of a stabbing.

Some of the officers who arrived at the scene recognized Winkle Gomez from when they arrested her in connection with the June 2017 shooting death; and after first giving police the name and date of her sister, they arrested her for failure to provide her identification, records show.

Alex Arevalo, the admitted shooter, is the only defendant who has pleaded guilty in connection with the capital murder case.

Meanwhile, Winkle Gomez, Martinez, and Alaniz have pleaded not guilty to their respective charges; and are currently set for trial in early February.

lzazueta@themonitor.com