Murder case update: Mata’s bail set at $10 million

HARLINGEN — The man police believe shot and killed his wife during a domestic dispute is still behind bars.

Alvaro Mata Jr., 39, of San Benito, remains in custody at the Cameron County Jail in Olmito.

He went before the 445th State District Associate Judge Louis Sorola Wednesday morning.

Sorola set Mata’s bail at $10 million for the alleged murder of Jessica Cortina, 36, who was shot in the chest early Tuesday morning.

In the early morning minutes Tuesday, Cameron County Sheriff deputies responded to a domestic violence dispute at the home in San Benito where Cortina died.

According to Cameron County Sheriff Omar Lucio, she apparently was already dead when first responders reached the home.

That all happened after she ran into her 17-year-old son’s room asking for him to call 911 because his father was going to kill her.

Mata allegedly shot her in front of the son just as she feared.

According to Lucio, following a search, Mata was in police custody at the Sheriff’s office around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday morning.

Mata has been charged with first degree murder.

He faces five to 99 years in prison and up to $10,000 in criminal fines for Cortina’s death.

Cortina was employed by the Harlingen School District as a special programs teacher at Wilson Elementary in Primera.

According to Cortina’s obituary she was an educator for 12 years.

Specifics remain unclear as to why the school, miles away from where Cortina was killed, was put on lockdown at the start of the school day Tuesday.

The lockdown, which school officials called “precautionary” was lifted by about 8:05 a.m.

Harlingen CISD Superintendent Art Cavazos stated on Facebook yesterday, “the Wilson Elementary School community and our entire HCISD family are grieving the loss of our beloved Teacher, Ms. Cortina.

“She was an amazing teacher, mother, daughter, sister, and friend,” Cavazos said. “Her handprint is far reaching. Her students and colleagues are walking around with heavy hearts and she will be greatly missed.”