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Appeals court overturns conviction in murder trial involving KLAQ DJ

EL PASO, Texas -- The 8th Court of Appeals overturned the conviction of Leonel Hernandez and is calling for a new trial.

Hernandez was convicted in 2019 for the shooting death of Richard Madrigal, a former KLAQ DJ.

Madrigal was killed in his apartment in June 2016.

An expert witness for Hernandez said it would have been physically impossible for Hernandez to have been the shooter.

The court overturned the conviction because it said the State improperly submitted evidence that disqualified Hernandez's expert witness.

At the time of the murder, Hernandez, and his love interest, Marinda Palacios, were with Madrigal. Police questioned Palacios.

"Marinda Palacios starts letting us know that she is in fact having an affair with multiple people and one, in particular, was Leonel Hernandez and she says I was over at Rick's apartment and he shot Rick," said Detective Camacho in an episode of a Borderland Crimes Podcast.

Under Hernandez's defense, an expert witness would have testified that it would have been physically impossible for Hernandez to have been the shooter.

The 8th Court of Appeals is calling for a new trial because it says improperly submitted evidence by the state disqualified Hernandez's expert witness.

"The fact is the state of Texas gave immunity to the person who likely pulled the trigger and killed Richard Madrigal," said William Cox. Hernandez's attorney at the time of the trial.

We reached out to the District Attorney's Office to find out how they were going to proceed and when the new trial would happen. They sent us the following statement in response to a request for an interview.

"Our appellate division is taking up the matter at this time. No further comment can be made since this is still an open case."

We also reached out to the public defender's office, which was responsible for Hernandez's initial defense, and have not received a comment on the conviction being overturned.

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