Alleged victim in Mercedes attempted murder case signs non-prosecution affidavit

Paul Buenrostro

The charges against a 36-year-old Weslaco man have been updated in online jail records to reflect that he is charged with attempted murder, not murder.

Mercedes police arrested Paul Buenrostro on Oct. 8 and accuse him of attempting to light his girlfriend on fire and choking the woman.

The probable cause affidavit against the man indicated he failed to commit murder, but nonetheless, the jail’s booking report and online jail records initially said he was charged with murder.

He is also charged with assault family/house member impede breath/circulation.

The newspaper was unable to clarify the charge with Mercedes police chief Dagoberto “Dago” Chavez because the man refuses to comment to the newspaper.

Buenrosto has retained attorney Jesus “Jesse” Contreras, who filed a writ of habeas corpus for the man last Friday, seeking a reduction in his $300,000 in bonds.

In that writ, Contreras says the alleged victim in the case has filed an affidavit of non-prosecution.

“ The alleged victim has signed an Affidavit of non-prosecution … on these allegations against the defendant,” the writ states.

Contreras is asking that Buenrostro’s bonds be reduced to a total of $7,500, saying the man is a U.S. citizen, not a flight risk and has no prior felony convictions.

The attorney also says the bond is far higher than normally required for similarly situated defendants.

The initial confusion on Buenrostro’s charges appears to have extended to his court-appointed attorney, who also filed a writ of habeas corpus seeking a bond reduction that stated Buenrostro was facing a murder charge.

After Buenrostro retained Contreras, the attorney filed an amended writ.

According to the probable cause affidavit, Buenrostro and his girlfriend, who The Monitor is not identifying because she’s an alleged victim of domestic abuse, got into a verbal argument on Oct. 4 while they were drinking alcohol outside her apartment.

Mercedes police did not respond to her residence on Oct. 4.

Police first talked to the woman on Oct. 5 at about 5:11 p.m., according to the charging document.

Authorities say she told a patrol officer that after the argument she went inside to lie down in bed in an effort to de-escalate the situation.

Mercedes police accuse Buenrostro of then pouring “large amounts of lighter fluid” on the woman and throwing a lit cigarette at her.

The alleged victim accuses Buenrostro of following her outside and pushing her onto a bench, according to the charging document.

Mercedes police accuse the man of crossing his arms in an “x manner” and putting his forearms around her neck preventing her from breathing.

According to the probable cause affidavit, the alleged attack ended after an unknown person walked toward them, causing Buenrostro to flee.

An investigator again interviewed the alleged victim on Oct. 8 at around 9 p.m., four days after the alleged attack, where police say she told the same story.

Mercedes police then arrested Buenrostro, who remains in jail.