Nephew pleads not guilty in uncle’s murder

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A nephew accused of fatally shooting his uncle following a fistfight in March entered a not guilty plea to murder Monday.

Melchor Hernandez, 23, appeared with Texarkana attorney Shorty Barrett for arraignment before 202nd District Judge John Tidwell. Hernandez required the use of a Spanish interpreter during the short hearing.

Hernandez is not likely to be released even if he does post the $250,000 currently set for his bail. First Assistant District Attorney Kelley Crisp said immigration officials have a hold on Hernandez.

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Hernandez allegedly spoke to his uncle on the phone a few minutes before midnight March 1. Antonio Labrada, 30, was reportedly at his home drinking with friends when he took the call. Labrada allegedly grabbed his keys and headed to Hernandez’ residence on Summerhill Road in Texarkana, Texas, telling others that Hernandez wanted Labrada to pay a debt, gotten angry and asked for a fight. Labrada drove from his home on Waterman Street to Hernandez’ home in the 2300 block of Summerhill in the first hour of March 2.

Witnesses reported that Labrada was on top of Hernandez and punching him in the face before the fight ended. Labrada allegedly laughed at the sight of Hernandez pointing a .22 rifle at him right before he started “clutching his chest.”

Labrada died at the scene. Hernandez is facing five to 99 years or life in prison if convicted of murder. He is currently being held in the Bowie County jail.

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