Friday marked the two-year anniversary of the murders of Robert Mata and Marcelino Guerra as well as the aggravated robbery at Sutherland's. The families of Mata and Guerra sat in the 79th district courtroom as Michael Castro and Richard Perez, two of the men, accused of their murders were scheduled for a pretrial hearing.
Castro is also accused of the Sutherland’s robbery. Perez was also charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Castro was not physically present in the courtroom instead he was represented by one of his attorneys, Nathan Fugate. Perez was present in the courtroom who is represented by Attorney Joel Resendez.
Jim Wells County District Attorney Carlos Garcia, defense attorneys, and Judge Bob Perkins discussed pretrial issues that needed to be addressed before the accused could be ready for a trial.
Resendez told the judge he filed a motion to suppress a confession.
Garcia confirmed that a plea deal has been offered to Castro. However, due to legal issues Garcia could not comment on the specifics of the plea deal.
As of Friday morning, Castro had not taken a plea deal.
On Oct. 21, 2015, Castro and two other men, Andres and Aaron Garza allegedly robbed Sutherland’s. The men walked into the business with masks and guns drawn while a juvenile accomplice held a lady outside the business at gunpoint.
Andres was recognized by an employee and arrested the same day of the incident. Through the Alice Police Department’s investigation, Castro, Aaron and Richard Perez were arrested in connection with the murders and aggravated robbery.
Castro and Perez face capital murder charges that stem from the double homicide that occurred on Oct. 20, 2015. The men are accused of shooting Guerra and Mata on County Road 464 near Green Acres before stealing their truck and setting it on fire near San Diego.
In September, Andres was sentenced to a total of 125 years in a Texas prison. Garza agreed to a plea deal with the State that reduced his two counts of capital murder to two murder charges. He is also charged with aggravated robbery. The three charges are first degree felonies. Judge Perkins implemented the State's recommendation of 50 years per murder charge and 25 years for the aggravated robbery charge to run concurrent as per Garza's plea agreement.
Aaron took a plea agreement of three years deferred adjudication probation on an evading arrest charge which dismissed other charges he had.
The judge scheduled a court date for Nov. 20 for Castro and Perez. Castro remains in the Jim Wells County jail with a total bond of $850,000.