OPD, ECSO on track to match 2018 murder statistics

Local law enforcement agencies are on track this year to match a statistic from 2018, during which 18 people were charged with murder.
Ector County Sheriff’s Office and Odessa Police Department have charged a total of five people with murder so far this year.
Odessa Police Department Chief Michael Gerke said on Wednesday his department has written a grant that would target violent crimes — murder, aggravated assaults and robberies — in Odessa.
“The grant is called Project Safe Neighborhoods,” Michael Gerke said. “It would specifically focus on violent crimes.”
Eusebio Luna Lerma, Arvae Maverick Walters and Traci Lee Alaniz were charged by OPD, while David Martinez Silvas and Courtney Chelle Rice were charged by ECSO.
Lerma, 37, was charged Feb. 15 with murder, a first-degree felony, after he repeatedly struck a 64-year-old man in the face who later died, an OPD release detailed. Lerma admitted to police he fought with and injured the man.
Lerma also has two motions to revoke probation from a driving while intoxicated, a class B misdemeanor, and leaving the scene of an accident, a class B misdemeanor, which both happened Oct. 3, 2015, jail records show.
Officers responded to a call about an assault at 11:09 p.m. Feb. 15 in the 400 block of Ann Street. The victim was identified as Eliopoldo Estorga, 64, who was transported to Medical Center Hospital and was later pronounced dead by medical personnel.
Alaniz, 61, was charged Feb. 24 with injury to the elderly, a first-degree felony, and about a week later she was charged in connection to the death of her 81-year-old mother.
Alaniz’ mother, Mary Hensley, was found dead in her condominium at 1475 Brittany Lane at 5:15 p.m. Feb. 24, an Odessa Police Department news release stated. Hensley reportedly had injuries all over her body when she was found.
Police affidavits detail Alaniz admitted to assaulting Hensley several times, striking her three to four times a month during the past three months, slapping her, and placing a pillow over her face on several occasions.
Walters, 29, was charged March 19 with murder, a first-degree felony, and a failure to appear for assault causing bodily injury (family violence), a class A misdemeanor, after police say he admitted to fatally stabbing his 33-year-old boyfriend Albert Chiesa.
Walters told OPD detectives that he and Chiesa smoked methamphetamine prior to the stabbing, an OPD affidavit stated. Walters was transported to OPD where he made a statement against his own penal interest and admitted to stabbing Chiesa with a folding knife, a police affidavit stated.
Walters reportedly waived his Miranda Rights and stated that Chiesa assaulted him by striking him in the head and back. Walters reportedly didn’t have any injuries consistent with his statement. Walters stated “it wasn’t really that bad” when talking about his injuries, the affidavit detailed.
Silvas, 36, was charged Dec. 9, 2018, with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a second-degree felony, after he reportedly stabbed two men in the bathroom at Sports Bar. One of the victims in the stabbing died, 19-year-old Jose Angel Inzunza Caldera.
Silvas posted bail for aggravated assault on Dec. 9, 2018, but after an ECSO investigation he was charged with the death of Caldera on Jan. 31.
Caldera was stabbed in the bathroom, and later died after being transported to MCH, an ECSO release stated. The man who survived the stabbing, Billy Ivan Dominguez Mingura, told deputies he had been stabbed in his stomach as he attempted to leave the restroom by an unknown Hispanic man in a red shirt.
Based on security footage and witness statements, Silvas was the only male wearing a long sleeve red button down shirt that entered and exited the men’s restroom during the time of the stabbing, an ECSO affidavit detailed.
Rice, 34, was charged April 2 with murder, a first-degree felony, after she admitted to fatally shooting her 48-year-old boyfriend Jose Melendez Hernandez.
The fatal shooting was reported at 2:08 a.m. April 2 in the 2100 block of Stoner Road, an ECSO release stated. Deputies located Hernandez on a bed with a gunshot wound to the face. The gun was a Smith and Wesson Governor .45 caliber revolver.
Hernandez was transported to the emergency room of MCH where he died, the affidavit detailed. Deputies located an unidentified witness in the residence who reportedly heard Rice and Hernandez arguing and a short time later heard a loud noise. The witness stated in the affidavit that Rice told her that she had shot Hernandez.
Deputies interviewed Rice after reading her Miranda Warning and at that time she admitted to shooting Hernandez and then calling 911, the affidavit stated.
Silvas and Rice are the only two people charged with murder that have posted bail, jail records show. Silvas posted bail for his murder charge on Feb. 1, while Rice posted bail on April 19.
Walters and Alaniz each have two bonds totaling $1,005,000 and $275,000, respectively, while Lerma has one bond $75,000.
Ector County District Attorney Bobby Bland said during a phone interview Wednesday that charges with this type of severity typically take about three months for a grand jury indictment.
“It can take anywhere between 30 to 60 days to get the case in from the investigative agency,” Bland said. “We usually indict them in three months, especially if someone is in jail.”