Rio Bravo man charged with capital murder set for arraignment

Saul Galindo Rodriguez, 24, of Rio Bravo, Mexico is escorted into his arraignment proceeding before Justice of the Peace Jason Peña at the Hidalgo County Detention Center on Wednesday, June 3, 2020 in Edinburg. (Delcia Lopez | dlopez@themonitor.com)

A 25-year-old Rio Bravo man accused of beating a man to death with a baseball bat over a wage argument is scheduled to be arraigned on a charge of capital murder Monday afternoon.

A grand jury indicted Saul Galindo Rodriguez on Oct. 6.

He’s accused of killing his former employer, 59-year-old Gerardo Gonzalez, who owned a welding shop, on May 31.

“Rodriguez then provided a voluntary statement of accused where he admitted to striking the victim on the head with a baseball bat after an argument over wages which was owed to him by the victim,” Hidalgo County Sheriff J.E. “Eddie” Guerra .

Deputies arrested the man on June 2.

The investigation that resulted in Rodriguez’s arrest began after Gonzalez’s wife reported him missing, according to authorities.

“After noticing that her husband had not arrived home she decided to go check on him at the shop. She didn’t find him,” Guerra said at a news conference following Rodriguez’s first appearance. “She did, however, notice that his vehicle was missing and the building was left unsecured. The lights were still on. And she found that was uncommon.”

Evidence inside that building led deputies to believe a violent incident had occurred there.

Guerra said investigators found a bat with traces of blood on it and a pool of blood on the ground outside the shop.

Authorities discovered Gonzalez’s vehicle about 10 miles away from his home near Mile 1 East and Mile 10 North in rural Mercedes with the use of cellphone records.

Gonzalez was found dead inside his vehicle, but he didn’t drive himself there.

Guerra said at the time that investigators suspect Rodriguez had help.

“We believe through the statements that Mr. Rodriguez made (that another person is involved), and we don’t believe that he was able to put the body inside the vehicle by himself and other evidence inside the vehicle leads us to believe there was another person,” Guerra said.

The sheriff said deputies believe Rodriguez and possibly one other person walked away from the vehicle after it got stuck in the mud.

Guerra also witnesses said tools and money from Gonzalez’s wallet were missing.

“Rodriguez’s wife was located and it was learned he had arrived home Sunday morning admitting to her that he had killed someone,” Guerra said.

When he made his first appearance, Rodriguez claimed self defense, saying Gonzalez hit himself first.

Hernandez, a Mexican citizen with no criminal history, remains jailed and has no bond.