Charges Reduced for Suspect in Murder of Rio Grande City Teen

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RIO GRANDE CITY – Murder charges against a Rio Grande City teen have been reduced.

He’s accused in the death of 17-year-old Chayse Olivarez of Rio Grande City.

The gloomy day in the city matched the mood of Wednesday’s hearing. Tensions ran high in court as the victim’s family faced the young man accused of killing their loved one.

Jose Luis Garcia Jr. is also charged with tampering with physical evidence and tampering with a human corpse.

Olivarez went missing in late July but his body was found a couple of weeks later on a ranch.

Garcia was originally charged with capital murder by the Texas Rangers. On Wednesday, the charge was reduced to murder.

Olivarez’s family, wearing remembrance pins and taking up one side of the aisle, were unsettled by the change.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS spoke to the district attorney and assistant district attorney. They said the reason for the change is because facts originally seemed to show Garcia hired someone else to kill Olivarez or paid someone off.

During the investigation, officials saw large amounts of money being moved amongst the co-defendants.

Investigators concluded that evidence shows Garcia didn’t actually pay to kill, but paid to have someone bring Olivarez to the location where he allegedly killed Olivarez.

A hire for murder is worse and in this case, according to the DA’s office, the evidence doesn’t seem to show that’s what this was.

In other words, Garcia didn't financially benefit from killing the teen.

On Wednesday in court, the defendant’s mother also took the stand. Her testimony was an attempt to reduce the $2 million bond to $700,000.

The judge denied that request. A decision Olivarez’s family is content with.

Law enforcement said the motivation, in this case, appears to be deeply personal.

Garcia will return to court early next year for a pretrial.

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