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Appellate court upholds ruling to overturn El Paso man’s murder conviction

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- An El Paso man who successfully argued an appeal to overturn his 2019 murder conviction is now officially awaiting a date for a retrial.

ABC-7 confirmed that the State of Texas' 8th Court of Appeals denied a motion by the El Paso District Attorney for discretionary review of the appeal filed by Leonel Hernandez, who was convicted of the 2016 murder of Rick Madrigal in June 2016.

The murder was the subject of the first Borderland Crimes podcast episode. Listen to the episode here.

Madrigal once worked as a radio DJ for KLAQ. He was found shot inside his West El Paso apartment unit in June 2016.

ABC-7 reported in May 2022 when the Texas 8th Court of Appeals ruled in Hernandez's favor, who argued that his conviction was in error because the trial court wrongfully kept his expert witness from testifying.

In January, the 8th Court of Appeals issued a denial of the D.A.'s motion, therefore upholding its ruling to overturn Hernandez's conviction.

Hernandez has been in prison on a 50-year sentence since he was found guilty nearly five years ago, in March 2019.

District Attorney Bill Hicks said in response to the ruling, "The error that was found doesn't affect our ability to retry the case ... We feel very strongly with the facts of the case and the guilt of person who was charged -- and we will proceed as soon as the 168th District Court is able to schedule it."

As of Feb. 12, the case has not been scheduled for a hearing.

Article Topic Follows: El Paso

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Stephanie Valle

Stephanie Valle co-anchors ABC-7 at 5, 6 and 10 weeknights.


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