Man Accused of Bribery in Starr Co. Murder Case Out on Bond

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RIO GRANDE CITY – The latest development in a murder case tie three things together, a judge, a charge of bribery and a teen accused of murder.

Seventeen-year-old Jose Luis Garcia Jr. is accused of murder, tampering with evidence and tampering with a human corpse. 

Garcia is one of four accused in the death of Rio Grande City teen Chayse Olivarez, who was killed this past summer.

On Wednesday, Ricardo Lopez, a truancy officer at Rio Grande City CISD, was arrested for trying to bribe Judge Jose Luis Garza, the judge overseeing Garcia’s murder case.

He was formally charged on Thursday and released from jail on a $35,000 bond.

Lopez approached the judge’s brother, who’s also the city mayor pro-tem. He wanted to influence the judge to reduce the bond for Garcia.

It’s unclear why or his relationship to the teen.

Rio Grande City Police Chief Noe Castillo said the special crimes unit was alerted to the bribe attempt.

He also said recorded conversations incriminating Lopez are part of the case. The amount of money offered isn't being disclosed.

“It does worry everybody that's involved in the criminal justice system," said Castillo explaining the impact this attempted bribe has on the case.

The defense, state prosecutors and judge will decide if this changes who will preside over Garcia's bond reduction hearing later this month.

Earlier this month, Garza denied a bond reduction for Garcia.

His attorneys filed for another bond reduction hearing last week and it was slated for Dec. 12.

All the parties involved are worried this bribery attempt will influence the outcome of that hearing.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS reached out to Rio Grande City CISD. They said Lopez was placed on administrative leave.

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