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Judge sets $10 million bail for second Venezuelan man charged with murder of 12-year-old girl in Houston

HOUSTON (AP) — A second Venezuelan living illegally in the United States and accused of killing 12-year-old Houston girl was ordered Tuesday held on $10 million bail.

Johan Jose Martinez-Rangel, 22, is one of the two men charged with capital murder in the death of Jocelyn Nungaray. The other is Franklin José Peña Ramos, 26 years old.

State District Judge Josh Hill set bail during a hearing in which prosecutors said authorities found evidence on Martinez-Rangel’s cellphone that they said showed that he was trying to leave the country after police searched for him following Jocelyn’s death.

Mario Madrid, Martinez-Rangel’s court-appointed attorney, did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

At a court hearing MondayHill also ordered Peña held on $10 million bail.

Nungaray’s body was found June 17 in a shallow creek after police said she had sneaked out of her nearby home the night before. She died of strangulation, according to the medical examiner. Prosecutors say the men took off her pants, tied her up and killed her before dumping her body in the bayou.

She disappeared while walking through a convenience store, police said.

The two men are Venezuelan nationals who entered the country illegally, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Martinez-Rangel was apprehended by Border Patrol agents near El Paso on March 14 and Peña was apprehended on May 28, also near El Paso. The statement said it was unclear when and where the men crossed the border. Both were released and summoned to appear in court at a later date.

Both Peña and Martinez-Rangel are now in federal custody, meaning they would remain in custody even if they could post bail.

Nungaray’s funeral is scheduled for Thursday in Houston.

___ A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that the two suspects entered the United States illegally in March. Martinez-Rangel was apprehended by Border Patrol agents in March and Peña in May, according to U.S. immigration authorities.

News Source : apnews.com
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