Edinburg murder suspect to raise self-defense claim

A judge on Wednesday afternoon reduced the bonds for a 20-year-old Edinburg murder suspect from $1 million to $700,000 on charges of murder, attempted murder and aggravated assault on a family member.

During the video conference hearing where state District Judge Israel Ramon Jr. made the ruling, Tanner Charles Dickerson’s defense attorney, Joe Reyna, also announced that he plans to argue his client was defending himself when he shot 18-year-old Angel Gonzalez on March 23 and shot at a juvenile.

Dickerson is charged with 18-year-old Ryan Jet Rodriguez in the case. Both men have pleaded not guilty.

Edinburg police arrested both Dickerson and Rodriguez and have accused the men of shooting Gonzalez and shooting at the juvenile after they asked to buy drugs through a Snapchat message.

During the hearing, Reyna described the incident as a drug deal gone bad.

The purpose of Wednesday’s hearing, however, was a bond reduction request for Dickerson.

Prosecutor Lauren Sepulveda told Ramon, the judge, that the state was opposed to any reduction in bonds for Dickerson because of a jail-house fight, a jail-house tattoo and because he had pleaded guilty to assaulting his ex-girlfriend who was pregnant with his child just 11 days before the man was arrested for murder.

An offense report uploaded in the court file as an exhibit for the bond hearing says Dickerson assaulted his ex-girlfriend, who was 15 weeks pregnant, because she didn’t want to have sex with him.

“Tanner had been smoking marijuana and he was getting aggressive. She went to another room and Tanner followed her. Tanner was pushing her and he started kicking her dog. He grabbed a fan and threw it against the wall,” the report states. “She went back to their room and asked him for a blanket because she was cold. He got mad and threw her to the floor and was slapping her. He was punching her on the body and after awhile he punched her on the face and stomach.”

The woman ended up in the hospital and the report contains photos showing her injuries, including a bloodied face and bruising on her body.

He pleaded guilty to those charges on March 12 and was sentenced to eight years of community supervision.

The report also states how Dickerson’s mother showed up and was aggressive toward the woman Dickerson has admitted to assaulting.

“Her mom talked to Tanner’s mom and Tanner’s mom started telling her mom she could kick her a–,” the report states.

According to the report, Dickerson’s mother hit the woman’s mother. Court and jail records do not indicate the woman ever was arrested or faced charges for the incident.

During the bond hearing, Reyna told Ramon that if he makes bond, he would be living at his mother’s house.

Sepulveda, the prosecutor, said this is a concern because there are some possible charges stemming out of Dickerson’s mother’s home in relation to an incident. It’s not immediately clear what incident the prosecutor is referring to.

She also told the judge that the state has evidence that Dickerson was using heroin and methamphetamine and hung around people who had firearms after his release on the aggravated assault charges.

Then there was the jailhouse fight.

That report was also included as an exhibit for the bond reduction hearing.

On May 7, at 2:15 p.m., the report says Dickerson hit another inmate causing them to fall to the floor and then kicked the inmate. The report indicates that one other inmate attacked that man with Dickerson.

The man had to be transported to the hospital, according to the report.

Another report describes how Dickerson was written up for getting a tattoo in the jail, which guards found after he noticed the man had a black eye.

“(Dickerson) then informed me that the same person who made the tattoo on him was also the same inmate who assaulted him 4 days ago,” the June 24 disciplinary report states.

Sepulveda argued that all of these factors show that Dickerson’s bond shouldn’t be reduced any further.

Ramon, however, said bail should not be used as punishment and sided with Dickerson’s attorney, who said the man’s bonds were beyond his mother’s financial means.

Dickerson remains jailed, records show.

His co-defendant, Rodriguez, is currently free on a total of $400,000 in bonds.