Patterson’s co-defendant has week to decide taking a plea deal

EDINBURG — Monica Melissa Patterson’s co-defendant will go to trial in April if he decides not to accept the plea deal offered by the state.

Next Monday marks the deadline by which Angel Mario Garza must decide whether to face a jury or plead guilty to capital murder for remuneration and be sentenced to 50 years in prison.

Garza, 40, is alleged to have suffocated 96-year-old Martin Knell Sr. in January 2015 while Patterson stood by.

Patterson was found guilty of capital murder for remuneration in November 2017 and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

If Garza rejects the plea deal, jury selection will be set for April 16, with the trial beginning immediately afterward, said Judge Noe Gonzalez during a pre-trial hearing Monday.

“ Your case is very different from Patterson’s,” the judge told Garza, “because you’re not facing some of the additional charges Patterson faced.”

The charges Patterson faced included theft, attempted theft and misapplication of fiduciary property.

The judge noted that if Garza decides to go to trial, he doesn’t expect it to last more than a couple of weeks.