A judge on Wednesday reduced a 35-year-old Elsa woman’s $500,000 bond on a charge of murder for the death of her husband. The new bond is set at $100,000.
Lucinda Diaz, who has maintained her innocence in the death of her husband, 31-year-old Craig Chastain, appeared before state District Judge Noe Gonzalez via video-conferencing where he granted Diaz’s request, saying he’s satisfied the bond will assure her appearance at future court hearings and that she is not a danger to the community.
Edinburg police accuse Diaz of shooting Chastain in the back of the head on Sept. 5.
Diaz had reported Chastain’s death as a suicide.
Edinburg police, however, arrested the woman, who has been an educator for nine years, on Sept. 17.
Investigators allege in charging Diaz that her story was inconsistent and cite a forensic pathologist who conducted the autopsy on Chastain saying the man’s wound, which was to the lower back area of his head, is inconsistent with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The gun was also found on a table several feet away from Chastain, according to the probable cause affidavit.
During a previous hearing on Monday, prosecutor Vance Gonzales told Gonzalez, the judge, that Edinburg police had conducted gun residue tests on Diaz, but neither Gonzales or Diaz’s attorney, Juan A. Tijerina, had seen the results of those tests. Neither side brought up the gun residue tests Wednesday.
Edinburg police say Diaz first reported to 911 that her husband had hit himself in the head with a vase before she called back and said he had shot himself.
The probable cause affidavit says Diaz told investigators she had gone into a bedroom after having an argument with Chastain when she said she heard a loud pop and found her husband’s body.
Police found a bag of packed clothes in their apartment and allege Diaz shot the man because he was going to leave her.
During the Wednesday hearing, Gonzales told the judge that after conferring with his supervisors in the Hidalgo District Attorney’s Office, the state had decided not to call any witnesses.
Tijerina called Diaz’s mother, Enedina Rodriguez, to the stand.
Rodriguez testified that her daughter would live with her and that she could not afford a $500,000 bond, though she believed she would be able to negotiate the $100,000 bond with a bondsman.
She also told the judge that her daughter suffers from anxiety and depression and Texas Tropical, which screens people for mental health in the jail, had removed her from her medication because of her pregnancy.
Diaz, who married Chastain in April, is pregnant with their child.
Rodriguez also said her daughter is struggling with the death of her husband and with being accused of his murder.
“I don’t believe she’s guilty, sir,” Rodriguez said during the hearing.
Gonzalez, the judge, required Diaz to seek mental health treatment and healthcare for her pregnancy if she chooses to take her pregnancy to full-term if she is released. Conditions also include that she surrender an expired passport and stay at her mother’s house, aside from going to work or seeking medical attention.
Diaz’s case has not yet been presented to a grand jury for a formal indictment.