Defense: ‘Significant’ problems in case of homeless McAllen man’s murder

Gregorio Garza

The defense attorney representing the suspect in a McAllen man’s murder last summer says the case has “significant” problems. Prosecutors didn’t dispute this claim during an in-person arraignment Wednesday morning for the defendant, who’s from the Mexican city of Reynosa.

Gregorio Garza, 52, was indicted on Sept. 16 on charges of murder, injury to a disabled individual and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon over allegations that he beat Michael Wright, who was homeless and used a wheelchair because of an amputated leg, with a wooden board that had rusty nails in it. Wright died.

Garza had been scheduled to be arraigned on the indictment last Wednesday via videoconferencing but that hearing was rescheduled for an in-person appearance in front of 370th state District Judge Noe Gonzalez on Wednesday. This was because Garza was uncooperative at the prior hearing when deputies tried to remove him from his cell.

And once again, the arraignment has been rescheduled. This time, prosecutors asked that the hearing be postponed, telling Gonzalez that further investigation is needed before the arraignment is held.

O. Rene Flores, the attorney representing Garza, shined a little more light on why further investigation is necessary, telling the judge that apparently Wright’s autopsy results do not exist. Furthermore, Wright was cremated, Flores said.

Flores concurred with prosecutors, telling Gonzalez more investigation is necessary before an arraignment can be held.

Autopsy results are critical pieces of evidence in murder cases that show cause of death. At trials, medical examiners who conduct autopsies are called as witnesses and explain in detail to juries how they arrived at determining cause of death.

Aside from these two comments made by Flores, no other reasons as to why prosecutors asked for the continuance for further investigation before arraignment were publicly disclosed during the brief hearing.

McAllen police arrested Garza on July 23 after responding to 1700 N. 10th St. for a report of an assault in progress.

At the scene, the responding officer found Wright on the ground, screaming for help next to his wheelchair while Garza was sitting a close distance away, holding his bleeding hand, next to a piece of wood. Wright told the officer Garza hit him with the wood, according to a probable cause affidavit.

That affidavit says Wright told police he was traveling through an alleyway and saw Garza but didn’t exchange words with them. Wright explained to the officer that he had some belongings in a cart at a nearby lot and had gone to sort through items, according to the affidavit.

Garza then walked up to Wright and told him he needed to leave because the area belonged to him, and so Wright left but, according to the affidavit, Garza followed and attacked him.

Police say Garza claimed Wright told him to leave so people would not give him money before telling Garza to go buy him beer while proposing the two have sexual relations, according to the affidavit.

“Garza advised that he told Wright that he was not going to have sexual relationship so they began to argue. Garza stated he got upset and hit Wright with the stick,” the affidavit stated.

It is not immediately clear when Wright died.

Garza remains jailed on a $100,000 bond on the aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charge, but he does not have bonds on the murder charges or the injury to a disabled individual charge.

His next court appearance is scheduled for late November.


Murder indictment handed down in homeless McAllen man’s death