Mark Reagan

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Mark Reagan is a reporter for The Monitor. He can be reached at mreagan@themonitor.com or at (956) 683-4437.

DA cites COVID-19 executive order in opposition to murder suspect receiving PR bond

A 40-year-old Elsa man accused of killing his father in 2017 walked out of jail Thursday on a $250,000 personal recognizance bond. Joseph Robert Nocar, who has steadfastly maintained his innocence in letters written to the court and to The Monitor, is charged with murder for the Oct. 24, 2017, death of 76-year-old Frederick Joseph Nocar, whose daughter found him lying in a pool of his own blood inside his Weslaco home. On Wednesday, state district Judge J.R. “Bobby” Flores granted Joseph Robert Nocar the personal recognizance bond. Jail records indicate the man was released Thursday. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Man who said he was ‘sorry’ after uncle’s death indicted for murder

A Hidalgo County grand jury on Wednesday indicted a man on a charge of murder Wednesday on accusations he stabbed his uncle three to four times in mid-March after an argument. The Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office arrested 32-year-old Manuel Martinez III on March 18 on accusations he killed his uncle, 54-year-old Reynaldo Menchaca Villarreal, at a residence in Donna. Weslaco police began investigating after responding to a traffic accident in which the driver, Villarreal, appeared to have stab wounds. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Edinburg auto theft investigation leads to guns, drugs and money

When Edinburg investigators worked to determine who evaded arrest after leading them in a police chase in a stolen car on April 14, they ended up with more than just an auto theft case on their hands. Instead, the investigation lead to the arrest of three men and the seizure of four vehicles, nearly 400 pounds of marijuana, a half pound of cocaine, 26 weapons, including a .50 caliber Desert Eagle handgun, and more than $125,000 in cash. In a news release, police say they engaged in a chase after responding to an auto theft in progress on the 1500 block of Armagoza Drive. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Appeals court declines to take case of Weslaco woman convicted of killing newborn

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Wednesday declined to review a petition filed by a 27-year-old Weslaco woman serving 32 years in prison for the 2014 death of her newborn child. The petition filed by Sandy Perez Hernandez's appellate attorney followed denials of her direct appeal and motion for a new trial between 2017 and 2019. A jury convicted Hernandez in 2016 after 10 hours of deliberation on charges of manslaughter and injury to a child. She had been charged with capital murder. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Domestic violence rates are a concern in pandemic

On April 18, 22-year-old Diego Alfonso Gonzalez's girlfriend told him to leave the home the couple shared with her father after an argument. As the man was packing his belongings, Alton police say the woman's father began arguing with Gonzalez, provoking him. That's when police say Gonzalez brandished a machete and a scuffle ensued between him, the woman's father and one of that man's friends. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Appeals court: US not liable for agent’s assault of immigrants

The three judges from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week that the United States cannot be held liable for the bloody attack and sexual assault of a mother and daughter at the hands of a Border Patrol agent in 2014. The ruling has its roots on March 12, 2014, the day Border Patrol agent Esteban Manzanares apprehended MDCG, her daughter, NLMC, and their 14-year-old friend, JMAE, for entering the country illegally near Abram. The victims are identified in court document with pseudonyms. On that day, Manzanares loaded the women into his vehicle and "drove around to various locations in the South Texas countryside where he physically and sexually abused the three helpless immigrants. Read the full story at themonitor.com

Weslaco woman accused of fatal January shooting indicted for murder

A 41-year-old Weslaco woman who Hidalgo County Sheriff J.E. “Eddie” Guerra said had a history of shooting at people at her residence is scheduled to be arraigned on a murder indictment Wednesday afternoon. On March 12, a Hidalgo County grand jury indicted Emma Linda Gracia for the Jan. 18 shooting of 24-year-old Eduardo Mendoza at her home at 1318 E. 25th St. in rural Weslaco. Deputies arrested Gracia after she called 9-1-1 to report she shot a man during a burglary, according to the probable cause affidavit. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Garcia appeal remanded to trial court over reporters record

More than five months after a jury found Jose Luis Garcia Jr. guilty of tampering with evidence, which was announced at 1:30 a.m. Nov. 8, the 20-year-old still does not have the reporters record to effectuate his appeal. Garcia was accused of shooting and killing Rio Grande City teen Chayse Olivarez before orchestrating the burning and dismemberment of the man’s body. The week-long trial included a video-taped confession and crime scene walk-through that included Garcia leading the Texas Rangers to a bank on the Rio Grande 5 miles away from the crime scene where the weapon used in the shooting was recovered. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

Records show Crime Stopper tips lead to drug, cash seizure

A probable cause affidavit reveals how multiple tips to McAllen Crime Stoppers resulted in at least three arrests and the seizure of more than a pound of cocaine, nearly 3 pounds of marijuana, almost 200 THC cartridges and more than $61,000 in alleged drug proceeds. The charging document for 21-year-old Mission resident Carlos Manuel Ruiz on allegations of money laundering between $30,000 and $150,000 credits the anonymous tipline for initiating the investigation into a residence at 208 Walnut Ave. in McAllen where police made the seizure on March 26. McAllen police say they initiated surveillance at the house after receiving multiple tips and, according to the probable affidavit, investigators observed suspicious activity. Read the full story at themonitor.com.

LUPE talks jail reform; details of first inmate case emerge 

When the Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office released nearly 400 low-level inmates in late March in an effort to keep COVID-19 out of the jail, John-Michael Torres noticed. Torres is the Rio Grande Valley communications director for La Unión del Pueblo Entero, or LUPE, a community union founded by labor activists César Chávez and Dolores Huerta. He said LUPE has spent the last two years asking Hidalgo County Sheriff J.E. "Eddie" Guerra to keep people accused of low-level crimes — like Class C and certain Class B and A misdemeanors — out of jail to keep families together and promote public health. Read the full story at themonitor.com