A teenager accused of murdering and ordering the dismemberment of a fellow minor in Rio Grande City, Texas, will not be spending life in prison after jurors found him not guilty. The victim and the suspect were previously described as the sons of rival drug traffickers.
After half a day of deliberations, a jury in Hidalgo County found Jose Luis Garcia not guilty of the 2017 murder of 17-year-old Chayse Olivarez in neighboring Starr County. Jurors did find Garcia, who was 16 at the time, guilty of one count of evidence tampering and was allowed to go free on bond pending his sentencing on the lesser charge, Valerie Gonzalez from KRGV reported.
José Luis García Jr. walks out of the courthouse free on bond after being found not guilty of murder but guilty on one count of tampering with evidence. Mother of victim walked out with a garment over her hair, sobs heard through. Sentencing is scheduled for tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/Kv6Q72q614
— Valerie Gonzalez (@ValOnTheBorder) November 8, 2019
Garcia was accused of paying $10,000 to another teen to murder Olivares over an incident where Olivarez robbed Garcia at gunpoint, taking several pot brownies and Xanax pills. After being shot, the victim’s remains were dismembered, burned, and then placed into three trash bags which authorities found in the summer of 2017–weeks after relatives reported the victim missing.
The not-guilty verdict came after prosecutors presented a video interview where Garcia walked Texas Ranger Eric Lopez through his decision of murdering Olivarez. During trial, the filmed conversation explained how he shot the teen using his father’s gun and paid a friend $10,000 to dispose of the body, KRGV reported.
Lopez, who investigated Olivarez’s disappearance, testified in trial that Garcia’s father and the victim’s father are rival traffickers in South Texas, The Monitor reported.
Despite the video and other evidence, defense attorneys claimed the confession was obtained through deception. During jury instructions, the judge said they were asked to disregard the confession if they believed Garcia was coerced.
Ildefonso Ortiz is an award-winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and senior Breitbart management. You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook. He can be contacted at Iortiz@breitbart.com.
Brandon Darby is the managing director and editor-in-chief of Breitbart Texas. He co-founded Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project with Ildefonso Ortiz and senior Breitbart management. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He can be contacted at email@example.com.