by BRAD ROLLINS
Editor and Publisher
Hays County District Attorney Sherri Tibbe has brought drug charges against two residents of the Chestnut Street home where two juvenile intruders were shot and killed in September.
Mark Sidney Smith, 25, and Brian Matthew Smith, 22, are charged with Class B misdemeanor marijuana possession under two ounces, Tibbe’s office announced on Wednesday.
San Marcos police found a small amount of cannabis in a bathroom during a search following the early morning Sept. 4 shootings that killed John Alvarez and Rudy Tinoco, both 16 and from Luling, and wounded Jordan Mendez, also 16.
A fourth alleged intruder, 17-year-old Frank Castro, was arrested at the scene and indicted last week for capital murder, murder and aggravated assault, charges that stem from his accomplice’s deaths at the hands of one the house’s residents. Tibbe’s announcement did not say if either Smith was the shooter or the “Harry Potter” drug dealer that Castro told investigators the four intended to rob.
Justice of the Peace Joanne Prado issued arrest warrants for the Smiths on Nov. 30, nearly three full months after the home invasion and resulting shootings.
San Marcos Police Chief Howard E. Williams said on Wednesday that his department delayed filing secondary charges in the Chestnut Street and two other high-profile drug heist-related shootings to avoid complicating prosecution of the home invasion suspects.
“We were trying to keep things simple for the DA when they are putting together cases and presenting them to a grand jury. … They wanted to take them one issue at a time so the different circumstances did not pile up on any give case. Once they let us know they had everything squared away, we moved forward with these drug cases,” Williams said.
News reports and commentary on the Chestnut Street and following cases focused on the so-called Castle Doctrine that provides criminal immunity to people who lawfully use deadly force under most circumstances to protect themselves in their homes or vehicles except when they are engaged at criminal activity at the time of the attack.
Enacted in 2007, killings under the act have not resulted in substantial case law to make clear exactly how the law should be interpreted in cases of drug dealers defending their homes and stashes. But the issue is almost moot, First Assistant District Attorney Fred Weber said, because the residents in the Chestnut Street case still had the right to defend themselves even if they were dealing drugs out of the home (and Weber did not say they were).
“Even if you are engaged in criminal activity, you still have the right to defend yourself. You just don’t have the presumption of immunity that comes along with the Castle Doctrine,” Weber said.
Also on Wednesday, Tibbe’s office announced charges against four residents of two other homes where attempted narcotics robberies in recent months resulted in shootings.
Following a shooting at the University Heights apartments on Oct. 20, San Marcos investigators found marijuana in the bedrooms of two of the unit’s residents. On Nov. 18, Prado issued arrest warrants against Andrue Paul Roundtree, 23, and Rodney Dee Stephenson, Jr., 22, both of whom are charged with possession of marijuana in the amount of two to four ounces, a Class A misdemeanor. Other charges may be filed pending lab results of other suspected narcotics found in the residence.
Two San Antonio men — Michael Wilson, 23, and Justin Pickaree, 19 — are charged with assault with a deadly weapon and evading arrest resulting from the University Heights shooting.
The most serious of drug charges announced on Wednesday are levied against Beau Allen Stanley, 24, who lived in a home on Oscar Smith Street where another shooting occurred on Oct. 22.
Stanley is charged with controlled substance possession (less than one gram of methamphetamine, a state jail felony); marijuana possession under two ounces (Class B misdemeanor); dangerous drug possession (Methocarbamol, a Class A misdemeanor); controlled substance possession (four to 200 grams of psilocybin mushrooms, a second-degree felony); and controlled substance possession (20-79 doses of LSD, a third degree felony).
Another resident of the same home, 22-year-old Haven Dennise Seward, is charged with controlled substance possession (four to 200 grams of psilocybin mushrooms, a second-degree felony.)Email | Print