Before Michael Castro and Richard Perez, the last two alleged suspects in the 2015 murders of Robert Mata and Marcelino Guerra, appeared in the 79th district courtroom Friday morning they were offered plea deals by the Jim Wells County District Attorney's Office.
Castro's Attorney Nathan Fugate told Judge Bob Perkins that his client had entered into an agreement with the State instead of going to trial.
The basic plea agreement, according to JWC District Attorney Carlos Garcia, includes 25 years in a Texas prison per charge, he must provide a statement and testify in any court presiding related to the case. The plea agreement has not been finalized at this time pending Castro's cooperation.
As part of the agreement, Castro will provide a statement to the Texas Rangers in the upcoming week. The statement will than be given to the State and Perez's Attorney Joel Resendez, as it may be used against his defendant.
Castro faces two charges; one for aggravated robbery and one for capital murder. The plea agreement would give him a total of 50 years in a Texas prison.
According to Garcia, Perez was also presented with a plea agreement. However, Resendez stated before the court that his client rejected the plea agreement and no counter offer had been presented.
Castro and Perez are two out of three men who were arrested in connection with the murders. Castro is one of three men accused of the Sutherland’s robbery.
Perez charges include aggravated robbery, capital murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
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 Perez were arrested in connection with the murders and aggravated robbery.
Castro and Perez's capital murder charges 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 2017, 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.
Also in September 2017, Aaron took a plea agreement of three years deferred adjudication probation on an evading arrest charge which dismissed other charges he had.
Before the pre-trial hearing concluded, Judge Perkins, State and the defense attorney's agreed to a "final" pre-trial hearing on April 27.