Border Patrol agent pleads not guilty in decapitation death
Feb. 04, 2016
BROWNSVILLE, Texas (AP) — A U.S. Border Patrol Agent accused in the death of a man whose decapitated body was found floating near Texas' South Padre Island has pleaded not guilty in the case.
The body of 33-year-old Honduran native Jose Francisco Rodriguez Palacios Paz was found by fishermen last March. Joel Luna pleaded not guilty Wednesday to capital murder, murder and two counts of engaging in criminal activity.
Luna has been on indefinite leave from the Border Patrol.
Paz had been working as a mechanic in Edinburg, about 80 miles west of the island, and had been missing for about five days. Investigators said his body had been mutilated.
Cameron County Sheriff Omar Lucio has said the June arrest of four individuals in the death eventually led authorities to Luna.