A judge on Wednesday reduced the bond by $200,000 for a Mercedes man who was mistakenly booked and admonished on a charge of murder earlier this month.
The Mercedes Police Department arrested Paul Buenrostro, 36, on Oct. 9 on accusations he attempted to light his girlfriend on fire and that he choked the woman.
Since then, Buenrostro has appeared in court twice and his attorney Jesus “Jesse” Contreras said he has reviewed the paperwork from Weslaco Municipal Court, where Mercedes arrestees make first appearances and are held because that city’s jail is unsafe for human occupancy.
That paperwork confirms Buenrostro was admonished on a charge of murder and aggravated assault/house member impede breath/circulation and received a total of $300,000 in bonds on the charges before being transferred to the Hidalgo County Detention Center where he was booked on those charges.
State District Judge Israel Ramon Jr. reduced his bond to a total of $100,000 on Wednesday.
Jail records have since been updated to reflect that he’s charged with criminal attempted murder.
Lauren Sepulveda, the prosecutor handling Buenrostro’s bond reduction hearing, told Ramon that a clerical error had occurred.
But since all the documentation states that he’s charged with murder, Ramon wondered aloud whether Buenrostro was being legally restrained.
Sepulveda said she would check with the Hidalgo County District Attorney’s Office appellate lawyers, but believed since the narrative of the probable cause affidavit makes it clear that the alleged victim in the case is alive, the man is being legally restrained.
The prosecutor also said she opposed any bond reduction because Buenrostro is accused of a crime of domestic violence.
Mercedes police accuse Buenrostro of pouring lighter fluid on his girlfriend after a fight that occurred while the couple was drinking alcohol and flicking a lit cigarette at the woman.
He’s also accused of choking the woman twice after she followed him out of the house, according to the probable cause affidavit.
Sepulveda, however, said during the hearing that Buenrostro followed her out of the house.
Contreras, Buenrostro’s attorney, argued that his client was entitled to a reduction because he was arraigned on a charge of murder.
In addition to that, Contreras said Buenrostro has no criminal history, aside from a recent DWI arrest, and that he can’t afford the high bond.
Not only that, the man’s entire family lives in Hidalgo County and he is a U.S. citizen and has a job waiting for him if he makes bail, Contreras said.
Ramon allowed Contreras to revisit the bond issue in the near future if Buenrostro is unable to make the $100,000 in bonds.