By Kathi Bliss
After more than two years behind bars, one of the four men arrested and initially charged with the Aug. 31, 2010, murder of Lockhart resident Walter Capello was released from custody in Hays County this week.
Nemesio Garcia, Jr., 34, received a considerable “birthday present” on Tuesday, when he was granted a personal bond in connection with charges of Tampering With Physical Evidence in connection with Capello’s death. Garcia, whose date of birth is listed as April 9, 1979, has been in custody since his September 2010 arrest, when he was a passenger in the a pickup truck in which police found Capello’s body.
Investigations into the killing and those involved have alleged that Capello’s death may have been related to the powerhouse gang, the Mexican Mafia, and at least one of the suspects in the murder, Eloy Davila, was charged in a Federal narcotics snare in 2011 focusing on a crackdown of purported gang members.
Initially, Garcia fell under indictment for both Murder and Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity charges in connection with Capello’s death. According to Hays County District Clerk records, the Murder indictment was dismissed on March 14, 2013. Tuesday’s hearing before Judge Charles Ramsay addressed a Writ of Habeas Corpus, as well as Pre-Trial Motions not listed in the District Clerk’s online records search.
At the end of the day, however, Garcia was granted a bond with a number of severe restrictions, including a requirement that he wear a GPS tracking device, that he not leave Hays County, and that he avoid any and all contact with members of Capello’s family.
The San Marcos Mercury claimed last week that Garcia’s attorney, Chevo Pastrano, said Garcia has refused plea deals in the past because those deals asked that he testify against other alleged gang members.
Two men, Johnny Gilbert Soliz, Jr., 47, and Paul Tovar, 44, both of San Marcos, remain incarcerated and are awaiting trial.
Davila, then 52, died while still in custody on May 13, 2012.
Each of the four suspects has an extensive criminal history. In prior hearings, Pastrano, has asserted that his client was in a bar drinking on the night of apello’s murder, and said that he believed his client was not involved in the actual killing.
The Tampering With Physical Evidence charge stems from his presence in the vehicle the night Capello’s body was found. However, any involvement he may have had with an attempted disposal of Capello’s body remains an issue for trial.
Tovar and Soliz both face several charges, including Capital Murder by Retaliation and Capital Murder by Kidnapping, in connection with Capello’s death. At press time on Wednesday, trial dates had not been set for either defendant. Garcia is set for a jury trial for his charges later this month.
Details about Capello’s death and the reasons behind it remain unclear, and both prosecutors and defense attorneys have been tight-lipped on the case. However, prior reports suggest that the killing may have been the result of a belief that Capello was being used as a law enforcement informant. Still, reports claim, the killing was not “sanctioned” by higher-ups within the Mexican Mafia. Those details may emerge, when and if Tovar’s and Soliz’s cases come to trial.