Judge sets $10M bond for second Venezuelan man accused of killing girl

Judge sets $10M bond for second Venezuelan man accused of killing girl

A second Venezuelan man living in the US illegally and accused of killing a 12-year-old Houston girl was ordered on Tuesday to be held on a $10 million bond. 

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

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

Mario Madrid, a court-appointed attorney for Martinez-Rangel, did not immediately reply to an email seeking comment. 

During a court hearing Monday, Hill also ordered that Peña be held on a $10 million bond. 

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

She had disappeared during a walk to a convenience store, police said. 

The two men are Venezuelan nationals who entered the United States illegally in March, according to a statement Friday from the US Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Both were arrested by US Border Patrol and later released with orders to appear in court at a later date. 

Both Peña and Martinez-Rangel are now under immigration holds by federal authorities, meaning they would remain in custody even if they could post bond. 

Nungaray’s funeral is set for Thursday in Houston. 

  • PublishedJune 26, 2024