Salomon Campos Jr., currently in custody awaiting trial on capital murder and kidnapping charges for the death of longtime Harlingen attorney Ernesto Gonzales, appeared in court on Thursday for an arraignment hearing.
Campos, 43, appeared in the 445th state Judicial District Court via Zoom from the Carrizales-Rucker Detention Center, where he was booked on June 26 of this year and held on charges of stalking, aggravated kidnapping, and murder, on bonds totaling over $1.6 million, according to Harlingen police.
Campos, represented by attorneys Erin and Ernesto Gamez, pleaded not guilty to the charges. The case was set for trial on Nov. 9, but Judge Gloria Rincones acknowledged that discovery will likely take much longer, and that the November resumption of jury trials is still tentative.
Campos is Gonzales’ nephew.
An indictment handed down by a grand jury on July 22 accused Campos of knowingly and intentionally causing Gonzales’ death by means unknown and charged him with capital murder by terroristic threat.
The document also accused Campos of kidnapping Gonzales in the course of committing or attempting to commit the offense.
On the aggravated kidnapping charge, the indictment accused Campos of abducting and restricting Gonzales’ movements without consent, with intent to inflict bodily injury, by moving him from one place to another and holding him in a place where he was not likely to be found.
An alternative version of that charge alleged that Campos, with the intent to inflict bodily injury on Gonzales, abducted him and held him in a location where he was not likely to be found.
Officers arrested Campos after Harlingen PD and the Texas Rangers executed a search warrant at his property on Kansas City Road in La Feria on June 23, according to police.
The department reported that during their search, investigators found human remains that have since been positively identified with dental records as those of Gonzales.
Gonzales was first reported missing by his sister and Campos’ mother on July 18, 2017, but he never arrived even though his truck was parked outside.
Gonzales had filed a request for a protective order against five extended family members on July 13, 2017, telling authorities that he feared for his life, writing, “I have had to carry an unloaded pistol in my truck hidden because I fear for my life,” the report stated.
On the same day that he was reported missing, a judge in Brownsville granted a temporary protective order and set a hearing for July 27.