San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

November 30th, 2009
Luling teen indicted on capital murder charges for involvement in ‘Harry Potter’ home invasion

by SEAN KIMMONS

A 17-year-old Luling boy has been indicted with capital murder after a San Marcos homeowner shot and killed two of his alleged teenage accomplices in a failed drug heist Sept. 4.

Although Frank Castro, who turns 18 on Tuesday, did not shoot the teens, he still can be charged with their murders, officials say.

“If you are a member of the conspiracy, you are responsible for whatever happens as a result of that conspiracy,” San Marcos Police Chief Howard Williams said Monday. “Even if you didn’t intend to hurt anybody, you’re still responsible.”

John Alvarez and Rudy Tinoco, both 16, were killed in the shooting while Jordan Mendez, also 16, was transported to Brackenridge Hospital in Austin. He has since been treated and released, authorities said.

Hays County District Attorney Sherri Tibbe says that Castro could receive life in prison without parole if convicted of capital murder. He is also charged with murder and aggravated assault.

“We are not going to seek the death penalty in this case,” Tibbe said Monday afternoon.

The case will be prosecuted by Fred Weber, the county’s assistant district attorney, and is set for arraignment at the 22nd Judicial District Court on Dec. 10, Tibbe said.

In June, the district attorney’s office also did not seek the death penalty in the capital murder case of Richard Perez Jr., 22, who was found guilty of killing six-month old Aiden Skyler Perez and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

In the burglary attempt, Castro and three teenage boys, all aged 16, were armed, one with a handgun and two with pellet guns that resembled firearms. Castro said that he was armed with one of the pellet guns, an arrest affidavit stated.

Once inside the home at 926 Chestnut St., one of the 16-year-old suspects confronted an unknown man in the living room and began to argue with him. A second man with a handgun then exited one of the bedrooms and opened fire on the teenagers, the affidavit said.

While in custody, Castro told police that he and his friends knew of a male subject nicknamed “Harry Potter” who sold large quantities of “dro” marijuana at the residence, the affidavit said. “Dro” is a slang term meaning high-grade marijuana grown hydroponically.

“This was a narcotics rip off,” Williams said. “They knew of somebody who was dealing drugs in the house. That was their motive.”

San Marcos police only found a small amount of marijuana in the home, Williams said.

Under the state law known as the “castle doctrine,” the homeowner had the right to use deadly force to protect him and others from the unlawful and forcible entry of the home.

Castro is currently at the Hays County Jail on bonds that add up to $350,000, court records say.

Sean Kimmons is senior reporter at the Hays Free Press where this story was originally published.

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