Accused Capital Murderer Out on Bond Skips Monday Court Hearing
SAN ANGELO, TX -- Accused Capital Murderer Nicholas Abel Rodriguez was a no show at a pretrial hearing scheduled Monday afternoon in District Judge Jay Weatherby's court.
Rodriguez is the last of the defendants to go to trial in the gang style murders of 16-year-old Zane Lopez and 17-year-old Juan Guerrero in March of 2016.
As we reported at the time, according to court documents signed by 391st District Judge Brad Goodwin, 17-year-old Neo Perez is accused of shooting the two men in the back yard in the 1100 block of E. 22nd St. in the early morning hours of March 26, 2016.
San Angelo Police investigating the shooting found Guerrero lying on the ground with a gunshot wound near his right eye. He was deceased. Lopez was taken by ambulance to Shannon Hospital. He had a gunshot wound to the right side of his head. He died at the hospital.
According to the report, Neo Perez along with Fred Angel Garcia, Nicholas Rodriguez and Eric Ramos were at the Kandiland Party Room on E. Ave K. Surveillance video showed them leaving just before 9:00 p.m.
Nicholas Rodriguez told police that Perez was in the front seat of a vehicle and stood up through the sunroof and shot over the fence using a .40 caliber handgun and a .45 caliber handgun. The investigation found Rodriguez had a .22 caliber handgun.
After the shooting, the men went to Gilberto Reyes. Reyes told investigators he sold the three handguns to an individual known to authorities.
Fred Angel Garcia plead guilty to murder and was sentenced to 35 years in prison. Eric Ramos plead guilty to murder and was sentenced to 30 years in prison for his role in the murders.
There were three plea hearings in Judge Weatherby's courtroom Monday afternoon.
Neither Rodriguez nor his attorney were present for the scheduled pretrial hearing and no explanation was given to the judge or made public during the hearing.
Failure to appear at a scheduled felony hearing is a third degree felony in Texas punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000.
Capital Murder in Texas is punishable by death or life in prison without parole. Rodriguez doesn't have a jury trial on the district court docket at this time.