New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - May 26, 2005, New Braunfels, Texas
Thursday, May 26, 2005 — Herald-Zehung — Page 5AMERCY
CONTINUED FROM Page 1AHearing scheduled to conaude Friday
Randall Sellers and Suarez’s parents.
“This murder came about because this defendant and two other individuals were collecting money for the Mexican Mafia,’’ Soane said.
The night Esquivel was killed, the trio were actually looking for another man who owed money to die organization, Soane said. Instead, they found Esquivel on a dark back road in Solms.
“It was through Mr. Suarez’s own statement that this was a problem individual and he was ready to do what needed to be done to make sure John Hernandez was given the respect he was owed,” Soane said.
Hernandez, Soane told Steel, collected “the dime,” the protection money the Mexican Mafia exacts from drug dealers who operate in its area, which amounts to IO percent of their gross receipts.
“The victim was the relative of the man they sought,” Soane said. “He was murdered in front of his family. His wife watched him die. I think you will agree the appropriate punishment in
this case is to sentence him to 50 years.”
Defense attorney Barbara Gayl Ancira opened Wednesday’s hearing seeking a sentence at the lower end of the scale.
She pointed out to the court that throughout the aftermath of Esquivel’s killing, her client was the only defendant who cooperated with investigators, taking responsibility for the act.
She summarized the testimony of her expert, saying Suarez had suffered from learning disabilities and other problems as a child and complications resulting from abuse of methamphetamine and drug dependence.
“He was ignored by the school system, he was ignored by the mental health system. He was ignored,” Ancira said, adding that her client had been diagnosed with schizo-affective disorder and other personality, social and intellectual impairments aggravated by methampheta-mine dependence and a drug-induced psychosis.
With treatment, she said, he would not be a danger to society. If he went to prison, Ancira said, his safety was in jeopardy because he’d talked to investigators, and the Mex
ican Mafia was known for retaliating against those who talk — and their families.
“Mr. Suarez is not inherently dangerous,” she said. “He is not a danger to society. We want Mr. Suarez to get help. We’re also concerned that he not be killed in prison.” Suarez’s father agreed, saying he hoped his son would get treatment — and would get out of prison before he and his wife, who are in their 60s, passed away.
“There’s been a lot said, a lot of rumors about this killing,” the elder Suarez said. “Me, as a dad, I don’t believe he did it.”
Ancira asked him why not. “First, he’s my son. He’s not a violent person,” Suarez said.
At home, he said, his boy always did as he was told and honored his mother. He never showed disrespect to his parents.
“Most of the time, when I ’d get after him, he’d say, ‘OK dad,’ or ‘OK mom,'” Suarez said. •
Suarez said he and his wife had suffered in the three years since the killing.
“I feel a part of me has gone out,” Suarez said. “I know, if he did wrong, God knows. I would like you to consider
that my son needs help. I know he will go to prison. But
1 would like him to go to a place where he gets this help.”
Zenaida Suarez, who is blind, had to be led into the courtroom to testify about her son. She described his childhood and his difficulties in school and social settings.
Like her husband, she said she couldn’t believe her son had committed the crime.
“In the first place, I don’t think he did it. I just think he took responsibility. He has always been respectful of everybody,” she said, her voice breaking. “He was my right hand. When I couldn’t see, he would bring me food to eat. That was the kind of boy he was.”
Like her husband, she asked Steel to find help for her boy.
“I le’s scared, and he knows the only way out is to give his life to the Lord,” she said. "It’ll be hard. He’s trying to read the Bible, but it’s hard, too, because he can’t read. He’s always been a good son to me.
"I ask the judge to have mercy on my son.”
The hearing resumes at
2 p.m. Friday with testimony of Esquivel’s widow, who will describe watching her husband die and the effect his death had on her family.DRESS
CONTINUED FROM Page 1ACode has not been changed in 15 years
their classmates,” said New Braunfels High School Assistant Principal Aria Chapa.
The people at the meeting chose to keep the designation that shirts designed to be tucked-in be worn tucked in.
An amendment that untucked T-shirts not be longer than the bottom of the buttocks when seated was also added.
Added to the list of jewelry that students are not allowed to wear was the phrase “round steel marblesized objects,” referring to the trend of wearing large-gauge ball chains as necklaces.
"Sheer garments” was an additional restriction made to the "Expectations For Girls” section.
Many parents were in favor of changing the existing restriction which states that high school boys are not allowed to wear shorts. Parents cited the heat of riding on the bus during May and August and the provision that girls are allowed to wear capris as reasons for
“Rules are different from one school to another, and for a parent, that can be very frustrating. We want to establish the same rules all the way across."
— Janet Patton
the proposed change.
However, Patton said the issue would not be up for discussion until next fall.
While some students were in favor of the proposed changes, one young lady felt the restrictions cramped her style.
“The way we dress is a reflection of who we are,” she said. “You’re telling us to change our personalities.”
The audience countered, saying it wants to know its young people by the words they speak and actions they take rather than their clothing.
The suggestions and drafts created in the meetings will be handed over to NBISD Superintendent Ron Reaves, who will make a final decision.
“The administration will have the final authority," Patton said.
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