A man accused of participating in what authorities described as the brutal murder of a street-level drug dealer in late 2017 has rejected a plea deal that would send him away for the rest of his life without a chance at parole.
That is the automatic sentence 34-year-old Gabino Salinas would face if convicted of capital murder after a trial.
Salinas appeared with his defense attorney, Oscar Rene Flores, in front of 206th state District Judge Rose Guerra Reyna on Wednesday morning for a final pre-trial hearing.
He is charged with murdering 32-year-old Jose Angel Martinez on Nov. 7, 2017, and with possession of marijuana, more than 4 ounces but less than 5 pounds.
He has entered a not guilty plea to the charges.
Reyna told the parties plea negotiations are over and scheduled the trial for Oct. 28.
The Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Department began the investigation after one of Martinez’s neighbors saw large amounts of blood streaked across his driveway.
Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra said after the arrests that Martinez was shot, taken from his home and dragged into an orchard where investigators found “more evidence of a violent crime.”
Martinez’s roommate, 55-year-old Ricardo Moreno, was kidnapped, but was found alive, newspaper archives indicate.
Guerra said at a news conference after the killing that investigators believe Salinas attacked Martinez in retaliation for an assault on him earlier in the year where he lost a leg.
Salinas is charged along with two other men, Benjamin Chavez Sanchez, 22, and Hector Ruben Guerra, 45, who have both entered not guilty pleas.