Rio Bravo man arraigned on capital murder charge

Saul Galindo Rodriguez, 24, of Rio Bravo, Mexico is escorted into his arraignment proceeding before Justice of the Peace Jason Peña at the Hidalgo County Detention Center on Wednesday, June 3, 2020 in Edinburg. (Delcia Lopez | dlopez@themonitor.com)

A 25-year-old Rio Bravo man pleaded not guilty Monday to a charge of capital murder.

Saul Galindo Rodriguez appeared in court via video-conferencing and arraigned on an Oct. 6 indictment alleging he beat his former employer, 59-year-old Gerardo Gonzalez, to death with a baseball bat during a May 31  robbery.

Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested the man on June 2.

Authorities were alerted in late May that Gonzalez, who owned a welding shop, was missing.

“After noticing that her husband had not arrived home she decided to go check on him at the shop. She didn’t find him,” Sheriff J.E. “Eddie” Guerra said at a news conference in early June. “She did, however, notice that his vehicle was missing and the building was left unsecured. The lights were still on. And she found that was uncommon.”

Investigators discovered evidence, including a bat with traces of blood on it and a pool of blood outside the shop, at the building that led them to believe a violent incident had occurred there.

Authorities obtained cellphone records that they used to find Gonzalez’s vehicle about 10 miles away from his home near Mile 1 East and Mile 10 North in rural Mercedes.

Gonzalez was dead inside the vehicle and authorities believe Rodriguez and possibly another person drove the vehicle there, where it got stuck in mud.

“We believe through the statements that Mr. Rodriguez made (that another person is involved), and we don’t believe that he was able to put the body inside the vehicle by himself and other evidence inside the vehicle leads us to believe there was another person,” Guerra said.

No one else has been arrested in the case and investigators allege money and tools Gonzalez had were missing.

Authorities say Rodriguez confessed to his wife that he killed someone.

At his first appearance, the man claimed self defense, saying Gonzalez hit him first.