Judge denies bond reduction for 19-year-old murder suspect

Jonathan Mugia Salinas

A judge on Wednesday afternoon denied a request from a 19-year-old Edinburg man’s defense attorney to reduce his $1 million bond on a charge of murder to $50,000.

State District Judge Marla Cuellar issued the ruling in the case of Jonathan Mugia Salinas, who is accused of shooting 18-year-old Alysha Renee Garza in the head at point blank range on June 22, 2020.

Garza died two days later.

Salinas has been jailed since June 23, 2020 and was indicted on the charge Aug. 20.

A probable cause affidavit for his arrest said the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched at 6:40 p.m. on June 22 to the 4500 block of Phyllis Lane in Edinburg for an aggravated robbery that was later reclassified to an aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and then to murder.

According to investigators, Salinas initially said an armed intruder had shot his friend’s girlfriend.

“Jonathan stated Alysha had already been taken to the hospital. Sheriff’s Deputies processed the scene and collected evidence,” the affidavit stated.

However, the woman’s boyfriend told investigators another story.

Sheriff’s investigators interviewed Alysha’s boyfriend who said Jonathan had shot her, the affidavit stated.

That document said Salinas admitted to shooting Garza with a gun he thought was empty, fabricating the story of an aggravated robbery and tossing the weapon into a canal near the home. The affidavit also said Garza’s boyfriend told investigators there were three bullets in the gun’s magazine before the shooting and detectives said they found a spent casing and two bullets in the magazine.

“On Wednesday, July 15, 2020, Sheriff’s Investigators re-interviewed Alysha’s boyfriend who stated that Jonathan grabbed the gun from the dresser drawer, chambered the gun and deliberately pointed it to Alysha’s head. Jonathan was standing in front of Alysha with his arm extended and the gun within close proximity of Alysha’s head at which point he shot her,” the affidavit stated.

During Wednesday’s bond hearing, Salinas’ attorney, Richard Garza, said during arguments it wasn’t a premeditated case and expected arguments of recklessness to occur as the case proceeds.

Garza argued his client was not a flight risk and was not a danger to the community.  He also noted Salinas only had two unresolved misdemeanors and lifelong ties to Edinburg.

Assistant District Attorney Ben Alonzo said the state was opposed due to the severity of the charge.

The parties also discussed pre-trial discovery, which is ongoing.