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Sheriff’s Investigators Question Alleged Gunman in Mexico

February 15, 1994 GMT

BROWNSVILLE, Texas (AP) _ A man accused of carrying out the contract killing of a teen-ager was in custody in Mexico on Monday, midway through jury selection for two other defendants in Brownsville.

Heriberto Puentes Pizana, 21, was arrested Sunday on an auto theft charge in Reynosa, Mexico, Cameron County Sheriff Alex Perez said Monday.

It is rare for Mexico to extradite its citizens to the United States. Perez noted a provision in Mexican law allowing a Mexican defendant to be tried there for a crime in the United States.

Puentes and Israel Olivares, 23, are charged with capital murder in Cameron County in the death of Joey Fischer. Fischer, 18, was killed March 3, 1993, in front of his Rancho Viejo home. Olivares remains at large.

In an interview Monday at State Judicial Police offices in Reynosa, Puentes denied any involvement in Fischer’s killing. ″I was in my mother’s house in the city of Matamoros″ at the time Fisher was killed, Puentes said.

Puentes, handcuffed to a bench, spoke calmly as he insisted that neither he nor his friend, Olivares, used or carried guns. Puentes said he had never heard of Fischer.

If convicted in the United States, Puentes could face the death penalty or life in prison. The Mexican criminal code does not include the death penalty.

The arrest came as lawyers were halfway through jury selection for the trial of Dora Garcia Cisneros and Daniel Garza.

Mrs. Cisneros, 56, is accused of masterminding the killing because Fischer had broken up with her daughter. Garza, 43, is accused of hiring Puentes and Olivares with Mrs. Cisneros’ money.