Palmview man tied to son’s alleged kidnapping ring, attempted murder case

A court hearing revealed that the father of a 26-year-old Palmview man is also charged with attempted murder over accusations that he and his son held a man against his will and beat and shot the man.

Rodrigo Serna

Rodrigo Serna appeared via videoconferencing Monday where his attorney, Hector Hernandez Jr., questioned why the man hadn’t been indicted on charges of attempted murder and aggravated kidnapping while his son, Ricardo Serna, was indicted on charges of attempted murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon more than a year ago.

Hernandez urged a reduction in Rodrigo’s $102,500 in bonds arguing that 90 days have past since his June 11 arrest and he still has not been indicted. Assistant District Attorney Ben Alonzo was unable to tell state District Judge Marla Cuellar why Rodrigo hasn’t been indicted yet. The case remains in the Hidalgo County District Attorney’s intake office, according to Alonzo.

Ricardo Serna

Cuellar reset the matter for a week and told prosecutors to find out where the case is at, though she did say she was disinclined to further reduce Rodrigo’s bonds, which she previously reduced.

Ricardo has been in custody since Palmview police arrested him on May 6, 2019. On May 20, 2019, federal authorities intervened and since then, Serna has been charged with the unlawful transportation of an AK-47, two counts of kidnapping, a count of hostage taking and a count of violent crime/drugs/machine guns in two separate federal indictments, records show. A federal judge has ordered him held without bond pending trial.

According to Palmview police, Ricardo and another man shot a man in the leg three times with an AK-47 in the 1000 block of Ricardo Avenue.

The Monday hearing revealed the other man is Ricardo’s father, Rodrigo. The men lived together in the home, according to Rodrigo’s attorney.

It was argued during the hearing that the alleged victim in the case told authorities he knocked on Rodrigo and Ricardo’s door and Ricardo pointed the AK-47 at him and Rodrigo hit the man with a beer bottle.

Authorities allege the men then beat the alleged victim, that Ricardo shot him three times and that they threatened to kill him.

The Sernas are then accused of concocting a plan to say the victim was going to rob them and called police.

According to a probable cause affidavit, Ricardo told police that he had met the victim several days before and something had gone missing from his house, causing Ricardo to call the man to return the item.

Investigators dispute that narrative and allege that the victim showed up to Ricardo’s house asking for money owed to him, a probable cause affidavit states.

Rodrigo has no criminal history. His son, however, does and is charged along with 11 other people in a federal indictment alleging the men conspired to kidnap and hold four people for ransom over a two-day period in May 2019.

Ricardo is charged with kidnapping and holding two men for ransom and threatening to kill the men.

He has pleaded not guilty and is scheduled for a jury trial in October, which is unlikely to happen due to the coronavirus pandemic.

His other federal case is related to the AK-47 that authorities allege he used in the attempted murder case.

Ricardo has also pleaded not guilty in that case.

He has not yet been arraigned on the state charges because of his federal cases, records show.

As for his father, Rodrigo, his attorney, Hernandez, is asking that his client be released on $20,000 in personal recognizance bonds.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to correct an error regarding charges against Ricardo Serna.