By RAY QUIROGA
BROWNSVILLE, TX —The two men accused of fatally shooting San Benito Police Lieutenant Milton Resendez in October entered pleas of not guilty in a Cameron County courtroom Tuesday morning.
Rogelio Martinez Jr., an 18-year-old Brownsville Southmost resident, and Rodrigo Axel Espinosa Valdez, a 23-years-old Mexican National, were charged with Capital Murder of a Peace Officer in connection to Resendez’s death which occurred on Oct. 17, 2023 when the men allegedly shot at Resendez’s patrol unit and struck the lieutenant during a pursuit which eventually lead through Sam Houston Blvd. in San Benito.
The two men accused of killing Resendez entered not guilty pleas on all charges during their arraignment on Tuesday.
The two men were formally indicted by a grand jury on Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2023 at the Cameron County Courthouse.
The chase originated at South Padre Island earlier in the late afternoon hours of Oct. 17 when a traffic stop was conducted on a GMC truck that was allegedly speeding on the beach.
The driver — identified as Espinosa Valdez in the indictment — fled from the scene, and gunfire was allegedly exchanged between the suspects in the truck and responding officers when it reached the Brownsville area.
Hours later, the suspects eventually were traveling southbound on Sam Houston Boulevard in San Benito when Resendez joined the pursuit.
Both men were indicted on charges of Capital Murder of a Peace Officer, two charges of Evading Arrest, and six counts of Attempt to Commit Capital Murder of a Peace Officer for allegedly firing at other officers, according to the indictment.
Capital Murder of a Peace Officer or Fireman is punishable by death in the state of Texas.
Martinez faces an additional charge of possessing an unregistered machine gun, and Espinosa Valdez faces two additional charges of evading arrest. Espinosa Valdez and Martinez remain jailed on bonds of $2 million each.
On the evening of Friday, Nov. 17, 2023, area law enforcement, friends and family of the fallen officer, and the public, in general, gathered at San Benito’s Heavin Park Pavilion to pay homage to Resendez during a vigil. The remembrance concluded with a mile walk around the Resaca trail led by Resendez’s widow, Melissa.
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