Rio Grande Herald (Rio Grande City, Tex.), Vol. 88, No. 25, Ed. 1 Thursday, July 5, 2001 Page: 1 of 6
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XXth Year, No. 25
IIOAG HOOK HINDI KY
127 RAIL ROAD
SPRINGPORT. Ml 49204
A Newspaper Serving the People of South Texas
Jury sets sentence at 15 years
in Roma motel murder
A 33-year-old Roma man faces a
15-year sentence in the state prison
system alter being convicted of
murder in the October 2000 slaying
of a man of Cuban descent in a
Roma motel room.
A 229th District Court jury
returned a guilty verdict against
Martin Guadalupe Moreno shortly
after 11 a.m. on Friday. The verdict
came after three to three and one-
half hours of deliberation on the
guilt or innocence question.
Early Friday afternoon, the jury
returned with the decision of a 15-
year prison sentence after
deliberating the punishment issue
for 30 minutes to one hour.
Assistant District Attorney Hilda
Gonzalez prosecuted the case, with
the assistance of Assistant District
Attorney Rodolfo Gutierrez.
Gonzalez commented Friday
afternoon, "I'm pleased with the
verdict, as is this office. I felt the
jury did a good job of follo-ving the
Moreno was represented by Roma
attorney Rolando Garza. The Rio
Grande Herald attempted to contact
Garza on Monday afternoon, but
was unable to reach him.
The badly decomposed body of
Enrique Roman Morales, 49, was
found by the Roma Police
Department on the afternoon of
Dec. 8, 2000. The victim's body
was found buried about two feet
deep in the back yard of an
abandoned residence located at 182
Mesquite Street in Roma.
Morales' body was discovered
almost two months after the Roma
Police Department found a large
quantity of blood, but no body,
inside a Roma motel room on Oct.
17, 2000. In December, Roma
Police Department Detective Roel
R. Garcia, who serves as director of
the United Agencies Violent Crime
Task Force, stated that the murder
evidently occurred on Oct. 17, 2000
at the Roma Inn Motel.
A Cuban native, Felix Nibaldo
Perez, 49, also faces a murder
charge in connection with the
Morales slaying. Perez was arrested
in Houston on Oct. 31 by the
Houston Police Department and
U.S. Marshals in connection with
the homicide and also on a federal
"The victim, a Cuban national,
allegedly came from Louisiana to
South Texas to make arrangements
to purchase drugs," declared
Gonzalez. "He had been here for
two weeks. Felix Nibaldo Perez had
allegedly been sending him money
to buy drugs. He was allegedly the
connection in Louisiana sending
money to Morales."
The prosecutor added, They came
to believe that the money to be
used to buy drugs was being spent
on partying and other activities.
The victim was believed to have
also used the money to buy tractors
and related equipment. They
allegedly wanted the money to be
used to purchase marijuana and
"Felix allegedly was the one
(See MURDER, Page 6)
'Los Camillas del Rio' named to
list of 11 Most Endangered Places
' For inuiti ol its history, the sun-
baked Lower Rio Grande Valley ol
Texas has been a place where time
moves slowly. But now the future
is rushing in at breakneck speed,
and much of the region's heritage is
in danger of being swept away.
Stretching for 200 miles between
the cities of Laredo and
Brownsville, the area known as
"Los Caminos del Rio"
encompasses farms and ranches,
fast-growing cities and dusty small
towns whose history and
architecture reflect a rich blend ol
Hispanic, Latino and Anglo
cultures. The region is also a
patchwork of newfound economic
The regular monthly meeting of
the Rio Grande City Board of
Alderman, traditionally scheduled
for the first Thursday evening of
caih month, has been postponed.
The meeting has been postponed
due to the Fourth of luly holiday.
The meeting, which will take place
at City Hall, w ill be rescheduled for
an undetermined later date.
prosperity and longstanding povetty
-- a perplexing paradox that has
thwarted efforts by agencies on both
sides of the U.S.-Mexican border to
preserve historic buildings and
neighborhoods and encourage
To call attention to this threat to
a unique and fragile cultural
treasure, the National Trust for
Historic Preservation on Monday,
June 25 named Los Caminos del
Rio to its 2001 list of America's
11 Most Endangered Historic
The History Channel will
feature the list on Saturday, July 7
at 10 p.m. EDT/PDT in a one-hour
documentary special eniilled,
"America's Most Endangered." The
show, hosted by Josh Binswangcr,
also host of "This Week in
History," is part of the Save our
History campaign, The History
Channel's award-winning national
initiative dedicated to historic
preservation and history education.
For the first time ever, T h e
Atlantic Monthly will present a
special feature insert, sponsored by
Shell Oil Company, on the
National Trust's II Most
Endangered list in the July/Augujt
issue of the magazine.
"The Los Caminos del Rio
corridor is a unique corner of
America," said Richaid Moe,
president of the National Trust
"It's a living illustration of the way
different cultures have blended their
traditions to build our nation. Many
of its buildings and neighborhoods
are relatively unpretentious, but
they provide powerful links with
the past and give the region its
identity. That makes them
landmarks in the truest sense of trie
word, and we can't afford to let
Spanish colonization on the
north side of the Rio Grande began
in the mid-1700's. Hardships laced
by early settlers, including a harsh
climate and the threat of attack by
Comanches and Lipan Apaches, arc
reflected in surviving fortified stone
buildings such as the Trevino Fort,
a National Historic Landmark in
San Ygnacio. After the Civil War,
Anglo settlers brought in
mainstream American architectural
styles to towns such as Roma (also
a National Historic Landmark), but
many communities still feature
traditional town plans, often
focusing on a central plaza, and
simple vernacular buildings
virtually identical to those found on
the Mexican side of the border.
(See CAMINOS, Page 6)
RGCCISD leaders meet with Texas State Hank officials
Rio Grande City CISD officials recently met with Texas State Bank representatives to discuss the different
bank benefits available lo all RGCCISD employees. Pictured deft to right arc Paul Quinlcro, Vice
President; Edna Dcsaro, Development Assistant; Carlos G. Gonzalez, Administrator Officer; Lourdcs
Martinez, RGCCISD Chief Financial Officer; Larry Gonzalez, Executive Vice President; and Rod Smith,
RGCCISD Superintendent (RGCCISD photo).
RGC High VEC Program holds merienda
The Rio Grande City High School VEC Program recently held an Appreciation Breakfast and Merienda loi
all job site supervisors and employers. Pictured above arc members ol the RGCCISD Payroll Department
and Aldo Vera, VEC work program student. (RGCCISD photo).
Rivera gets 20-year sentence after
attempted capital murder conviction
A 28-year-old Escobarcs man was
sentenced Friday to 20 years
incarceration in the state prison
system after being convicted
Thursday afternoon of two counts
of attempted capital murder in
connection with an April 2000
shooting in Escobarcs.
A 381st District C >urt jury
returned a guilty verdict against
Jose Angel Rivera at approximately
3 p.m Thursday. The jury returned
the verdict after three to three and
one-half hours of deliberation,
having received the case at
approximately 11 a.m.
Society to meet
Sunday, July 15
The Starr County Historical
Society will meet on Sunday, July
15 at 6:00 p.m. at the LaBorde
House Hotel in Rio Grande City.
The topic of the meeting will be
"New Developments in Starr
County Area." The featured speaker
will be Jim Seeden.
For more information, interested
persons should call (956) 487-3854.
Rivera was convicted of the
shootings of Enedino Alberto
Gomez, 31 at the time of the
shooting, and Jose Carmen Gomez,
30 at the time, on April 5, 20(X) at
an Escobares residence.- Both men
sustained multiple gunshot wounds,
with Enedino Gomez being hit
twice in the chest and once in the
abdom :n, and Jose Carmen Gomez
was struck once in the shoulder and
once in the elbow.
The jury sentenced Rivera to 20
years imprisonment after 60 to 90
minutes of deliberation in the
punishment phase. District
Attorney Heribcrto Silva stated,
"The defendant applied for
probation. He took the stand and
said he'd never been convicted of a
felony, which was literally true. He
testified in both the guilt or
innocence and punishment phases."
Silva noted that Rivera was
convicted of attempted capital
murder "because he tried to kilt two
persons in the same transaction."
The case was prosecuted by
Assistant District Attorney Judith
PenQ, with assistance from Silva.
Rivera was represented by Rio
Grande City attorneys Margil
Sanchez, Jr., and Ju: i S"lis H
Rio Grande Herald attempted tt
contact Sanchez on Monday, but
was unable to reach him.
Pcna commented, "Overall, I was
pleased with the verdict. This was a
classic case of people being in the
wrong place at the wrong time. He
was there to speak to '.he o - nor of
the house. He had spoken to the
owner prior to the shooting. He
claimed he had permission to
remove items of value from the
"The defendant claimed he was
exercising self defense, but he
admitted he was collecting money
involved in a marijuana deal,"
declared Silva. "Apparently, they
(the two victims) had nothing to do
with any drug deal He said he
didn't know them."
Silva stated, "Ultimately,
nothing was actually taken from the
house. One victim was shot four
times; the other person was hit
Pcna indicated, "A neighbor was
passing by: they (the shooting
victims) asked for a ride to the
hospital. They were taken to the
hospital very quickly and that
(See ATTEMPTED, Page 6)
Woman charged in 1998 homicide
arrested, returned to county
A La Gloria woman charged with
killing her husband in the midst of
an apparent domestic disturbance in
April 1998 was recently arrested on
a bench warrant in Frio County and
returned to Starr County to lace
Sheriff Rcymundo Guerra
indicated that Maria Luisa Canales
Pena, 28 at the time of the incident
on April 1. 1998, was arrested on a
bench warrant in Dilley, Texas,
located in Frio County, on April
Sheriff Guerra stated, "Mujercs
Unidas (earlier) enrolled her in their
program for sheltering battered
women She failed to appear at a
required arraignment. A warrant was
issued for 'failure to appear' before
District Judge Pope."
Assistant District Attorney Hilda
Gonzalez indicated Monday that a
Starr County grand jury indicted
RGCPD to distribute
childsafe gun locks
The Rio Grande City Police
Department will be distributing
childsafc locks this coming week to
help citizens exercise safety and
responsibility in the handling of
'I he program, designed to
promote and increase firearm safety,
is sponsored by the State of Texas
Office of the Governor, Criminal
Justice Dn i ->n.
The Ri • Grande City Police
Department wil distribute childsafc
gun locks at the following dates and
* July 9, 2001 at Los Gareias
Housing Project, 5:30 p.m. to 6:30
* July 10, 2001 at Wal Mart, 3
p.m. to 5 p.m., and at Economy, 6
p m. to 8 p.m.
* July II, 2001 at City Hall,
6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
The program is for residents
within the Rio Grande City limits
only Residents must bring an I D.
or driver's license. Weapons must
NOT be brought to the location.
Anyone seeking more
information should call Detectivc
R. Ramirez or Officer Noe Florcs at
Pena for murder on May 6, 1999
She was charged in the death of her
husband. Jose Pcna, 39, of La
The Sheriffs Department was
summoned by a 9-1-1 call to the
scene of a shooting at a La Gloria
residence shortly before 9 30 p m.
on April 1, 1998. Upon arrival,
deputies learned that Jose Pena had
been struck once in the chest by a
The April 5, 1998 issue of The
Rio Grande Herald quoted Sheriff
Guerra as stating, "We do feel sure
this resulted from a domesti
disturbance. Our investigation and
statements from the v. i messes
The April 5. 1998 Herald article
indicated, "A Sheriff's Department
statement declared that Pena had
been drinking when he 'became
irritable and went into a rage.' At
this point, he reportedly began
beating his wife w ith his first and
dragging her b\ her hair. According
to the Sheriff's Department, Pcna's
wife then had a chance to obtain the
the shotgun and shot him "
Shortly after the shooting,
investigators recovered a .20 gauge
shotgun that was used
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Roberts, Kenneth. Rio Grande Herald (Rio Grande City, Tex.), Vol. 88, No. 25, Ed. 1 Thursday, July 5, 2001, newspaper, July 5, 2001; Edinburg, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth195904/m1/1/: accessed January 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Rio Grande City Public Library.