The home on Chestnut Street where two homicides took place earlier this month. Photo by Andy Sevilla.
By ANDY SEVILLA
The Hays County District Attorney’s office said this week that it will not comment as it decides whether to press charges in a botched burglary that ended in the shooting deaths of two people.
A third person was severely wounded in an episode at 926 Chestnut Street on the night of Sept. 4, when four teenagers from Luling entered the home through an unlocked kitchen door in search of marijuana.
The one suspect who survived and wasn’t hospitalized, 17-year-old Frank Castro of Luling, was arrested at the scene.
According to the arrest affidavit, Castro told police that the teenagers were attempting to steal marijuana. San Marcos Police Department (SMPD) Chief Howard Williams said Castro told police that a male resident known as “Harry Potter” sold large quantities of “dro,” a higher and more expensive grade of marijuana, out of the home.
Just before 2 a.m. on Sept. 4, police responded to the 900 block of Chestnut Street, where the burglary attempt by four teenagers from Luling resulted in the death of two 16-year-olds and a third 16-year-old transported to Brackenridge Hospital in Austin with serious wounds. One of the teenagers was pronounced dead at the scene, while the other later died at Central Texas Medical Center (CTMC).
The homicides were the second and third in San Marcos within a two-week period. Before then, there hadn’t been a homicide in the city since January 2008.
The teenagers entered the residence through the unlocked kitchen door armed with pellet guns and a Ruger pistol before one of the residents opened fired on the teens with a 40-caliber Glock handgun. Castro fled the scene, but later returned when police arrived.
Williams said the police department “know(s) who Harry Potter is,” but is not confirming nor denying whether one of the three residents present at the time of the burglary is indeed “Harry Potter.”
Williams confirmed that at least one of the home’s former residents is a Texas State student. He said the names of the residents will not be released because they have not been charged with any crimes, adding that the five residents of the single-family home have moved from the house.
“We’re putting all the details together,” Williams said. “We still have several unanswered questions. This is about as serious as it gets. We have two teens dead.”
Williams said he doesn’t anticipated charges being filed against the resident who killed the home intruders, though he cautioned that the decision will be up to the Hays County District Attorney’s Office. The District Attorney’s Office said it “cannot comment on pending cases.” Williams said “it doesn’t appear” the perpetrators shot any rounds, though, he said, “it appears to be a case of self-defense” from the residents’ standpoint.
In 2007, the state legislature passed a “castle law” allowing people to use whatever means are necessary to protect themselves or their property without civil liability.
Williams would not say how many shots were fired in total, citing the specificity of the matter in an on-going investigation, though he confirmed there was more than one round shot.
“We believe, right now, that we see no criminal investigation on what the resident did,” Williams said. ” … This is a hard case for the people of San Marcos to take. We tend to want to protect our children, and then we have teens involved in a robbery shooting.”
Williams said Castro’s account of events does not correlate with that of the residents, which adds to the perplexities of the case. Williams said large amounts of marijuana were not found in the home, but said that a small “personal stash” was found in a bathroom. Williams said no charges have come about from the marijuana found because it cannot be attributed to a specific individual, due to the location from which it was confiscated.
“It (the marijuana) was in a communal area, if it would have been in someone’s room, then we could file charges,” Williams said. “But it was in a bathroom, so we can’t tie it to anyone.”
Williams said the wounded 16-year-old is in “fairly decent shape” and “doing well” after having surgeries. He said the teenager “had very severe injuries, but not life threatening.” He said the teenager will go through the juvenile court system once he is well and fully convalesced. Once there, a decision will be made as to whether he will be tried as a juvenile or an adult.
Castro has been charged with aggravated robbery, a first degree felony punishable with five to 99 years or life in jail. Castro remains in Hays County custody with a bond of $50,000.
“Police investigations take a while,” Williams said. “We’re being very serious and thorough, doing everything by the book … We have at least one young man, a 17-year-old, looking at the potential of spending his life in the penitentiary. We want to make sure we do a great job and produce a thorough investigation. We want Mr. Castro to have a fair trial.”
Castro identified the three teenagers involved in the burglary as Rudy Tinoco, John Alvarez, and Jordan Mendez, in the affidavit. Castro told police he was armed with a pellet pistol, Tinoco had the Ruger pistol, and Alvarez carried the pellet rifle, according to the affidavit.
But Williams didn’t specify which teenagers died and which one was hospitalized.Email | Print