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Three prison inmates indicted in 2011 murder
by Gary Kent
Nov 04, 2012 | 899 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
BEEVILLE — Three former McConnell Unit inmates were named in separate murder indictments on Nov. 1 returned by the Bee County Grand Jury.

All three had been indicted originally about seven months ago.

TDCJ authorities had predicted last week that the defendants would all be re-indicted because of some language problems in the initial documents.

The three are accused of having killed a fellow inmate, Carlos Rodriguez, during an incident on May 13, 2011.

At the time of the initial indictments, Jason Clark, TDCJ public relations officer, said the defendants were suspected of being members of a prison gang.

The defendants were identified as Abel Lee Martinez, 27, Michael Rivera, 29, and Joe Angel Roberts, 34.

According to the indictments, the victim was killed by a stab wounds to the back. The document said the weapon had been a nine-inch piece of metal sharpened at one end and wrapped at the other end with a cloth to form a handle.

Martinez was originally named as the primary suspect after he was found in a shower covered with blood. Rodriguez, Martinez’s cell mate, was discovered stabbed in his cell.

Investigators reported that the victim also had signs of blunt force trauma and strangulation.

He was rushed to the medical facility at McConnell and later transferred to Christus Spohn Hospital Beeville, where he was pronounced dead.

At the time of the incident, Rodriguez was serving a life sentence on a manslaughter charge out of Dallas County.

The three defendants all are facing first degree felony convictions with enhancement. They could spend the rest of their lives in prison, if convicted.

According to the indictments returned on Nov. 1, Martinez had two convictions on Oct. 3, 2006, on charges of burglary of a habitation and three convictions on charges of aggravated assault, bodily injury to a family member (with prior conviction), burglary of a building and theft of property, more than $1,500 but less than $20,000. All the convictions were in Dallas County.

At the time of Rodriguez’s murder, Martinez was serving a six-year sentence on those charges.

Roberts had convictions on a burglary of a habitation charge on May 10, 2002, out of Travis County and two convictions, on murder and attempted escape charges, on April 22, 2009, out of Bell County.

Rivera was in prison at the time of the murder on a robbery conviction out of Hale County.

All three defendants had been scheduled for trial on Monday, Oct. 29, but no jury was chosen, and the cases were not heard.

One McConnell Unit murder defendant, Juan Ovalle, was tried instead.

He pleaded no contest to the charge and was sentenced to a 30-year prison sentence by District Judge Ronald Yeager.

Ovalle also was charged with murdering his cell mate.

District Judge M.E. “Mike” Welborn set bond on the three defendants at $100,000 each.

Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.
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