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Old 03-29-2010, 10:29 AM
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Jeanfromfillmore Jeanfromfillmore is offline
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Default Illegal immigrant indicted for murder

Illegal immigrant indicted for murder
A capital murder indictment was among 27 indictments returned by the Upshur County Grand Jury when it met Tuesday. Fourteen of them were sealed. 115th District Judge Lauren Parish set bonds in the cases.

Miguel Angel Espinal-Gomez, 25, of Sulphur Springs was arrested Jan. 5 for the brutal New Year’s Day double murder of Danny Clark and his paraplegic wife, Subrina Clark. The crime occurred at their apartment in the Ervin Hill Housing Project.

He remains in the Upshur County Jail under $5 million bond.

An article by Phillip Williams in the Jan. 6 edition of The Gilmer Mirror reported that Espinal, charged with the New Year’s Day “horrific” stabbing deaths of a Gilmer man and his disabled wife in Gilmer Jan. 1, was arrested on a capital murder charge in Hopkins County early Jan. 5. Upshur County District Attorney Billy Byrd announced at a late-morning press conference Jan. 5 that

Espinal, a 25-year-old Honduran and illegal alien, was charged with the killings.

Preliminary autopsy results showed Clark, 36, and his 35-year-old wheelchair-bound wife died of multiple stab wounds, and “probably mutliple weapons” were used, the district attorney said.

Gilmer police, assisted by several other law enforcement agencies, arrested Espinal shortly after midnight Jan. 5 at a home outside Sulphur Springs, Byrd said. The suspect, who lived in the Sulphur Springs area, was arraigned before a Hopkins County justice of the peace, who set no bond, and was arraigned by 115th District Judge Lauren Parish that afternoon.

Espinal made a statement to Gilmer police Investitgator Roxanne Warren, said Byrd, who declined to say whether he confessed to the slayings.

Asked if others might be involved in the deaths, Byrd did not foreclose that possibility, but said no warrants have been issued for anyone else.

The district attorney said Espinal had dated a female related to the Clarks, and that “he acted out of some jealousy,” but declined to go into further detail about a possible motive. He said the suspect knew the couple and had been in their home.

Gilmer police, responding to a 9-1-1 “disturbance call” from a person Byrd termed “a witness in this case,” went to the Clarks’ apartment at 257 Ervin Hill the night of Jan. 1 and knocked on the door, the prosecutor said.

Finding it cracked open, and with no lights appearing to be on, the officers shined their lights and saw the bodies, said Byrd.

Gilmer police Lt. Ron Benge said at the press conference that police received the call between 7:30 and 8 p.m.

Espinal had been confronted at the crime scene by witnesses who “found him inside the Clarks’ residence that evening” after the slayings, said Byrd. The suspect followed the witnesses and entered another Gilmer residence while “covered with blood,” said Byrd, who declined to identify the location of that home.

None of the witnesses went in the Clarks’ apartment, he added.

Espinal is believed to have been in Sulphur Springs during the day Jan. 1, where he received a phone call and “went to confront the Clarks,” the district attorney said.

A nationwide alert was issued for Espinal, also known as Miguel Gomez. Agents from the federal Immigration, Customs and Enforcement agency (ICE) went to the Sulphur Springs area Monday, gathered information, and that agency was among the law enforcement bodies present when Espinal was arrested, the district attorney said.

The suspect “walked outside” a house and was taken into custody, said Byrd.

He praised the Gilmer Police Dept., Upshur County Sheriff Anthony Betterton, and Longview police, noting that the latter agency worked the scene at the undisclosed residence where Espinal went. Byrd said he believes blood and DNA were left at that home.

Several law enforcement agencies were involved in working the case, said Byrd. Other than those already cited, they included the U.S. Marshal’s office, Texas Rangers, Upshur and Hopkins counties’ Sheriff’s Offices, and Sulphur Springs police, said the district attorney.

The district attorney said he hadn’t decided whether to seek the death penalty for Espinal, who is charged with capital murder because he is accused of killing more than one person in the same episode. Under Texas law, capital murder is punishable only by either death by lethal injection, or life imprisonment.

Byrd called the slayings “horrific,” and some who viewed the crime scene described it in graphic terms as the bodies were removed from the apartment.

“It looks like a horror film in there,” said Upshur County district attorney’s investigator Jon Warren, husband of Roxanne Warren.
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