Police seek AG opinion on info release in murder by juvenile

The Brownsville Police Department is seeking an opinion from the Texas Attorney General’s Office on a request filed by The Brownsville Herald seeking more information on the death of 63-year-old Maria Esparza.

The Brownsville woman was found dead Dec. 14 at the Waterside Apartments. Authorities said she had been stabbed and that a 16-year-old juvenile was arrested on capital murder charges and charged in her death.

Police had declined to say if the 16-year-old suspect is related to the victim and the motive of the killing. The Cameron County District Attorney’s Office has also declined to comment on the case.

Both agencies said they do no comment on pending matters.

According to Section 19.03 of the Texas Penal Code a person is charged with capital murder if: the person intentionally commits the murder in the course of committing or attempting to commit kidnapping, burglary, robbery, aggravated sexual assault, arson, obstruction or retaliation, or terroristic threat or the person commits the murder for remuneration or the promise of remuneration or employs another to commit the murder for remuneration or the promise of remuneration.

In its letter to the AG’s Office dated Dec. 24, Brownsville PD states since the suspect is a juvenile such requested information is exempt from disclosure and/or inspection under the Public Information Act.

“Law enforcement records concerning a child and information concerning a child that are stored by electronic means otherwise and from which a record could be generated may not be disclosed to the public and paperwork should be kept separate from adult records.

Brownsville PD says the documents sought by the Herald are entirely exempt from disclosure.

Both Brownsville PD and the Herald are waiting for an AG ruling on the open records request.