Catholicism, knives, and intoxicants proved to be a potent stew in two incidents in and around the Rio Grande Valley town of Edinburg over the weekend.
One is kind of funny...
When Hidalgo County police found 20-year-old Agustin Casanova hiding in an abandoned house, all he sported was a pair of jorts and a killer shiner. His belongings consisted of a kitchen knife, a little sack of weed, and a Virgin Mary statue. The last item was hot: he had just swiped it at knifepoint from a family around the corner.
And so ended Casanova's Saturday night.
Earlier in the evening, Hidalgo County deputies had been called out on an assault call to a home in an area called Jam Square just east of the town of Edinburg around sundown Saturday. Once there, police were told by three victims that Casanova had tried to stab them, kicked a woman in the leg, and then snatched the Mary from their front yard and taken off down the street.
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Police had little trouble tracking him down, and he is now charged with marijuana possession and failure to identify, with an aggravated robbery charge pending. How many Hail Marys he will get in his next confession is anyone's guess. Police said they never could quite establish why Casanova kidnapped Mary, but they speculated that he had partaken of the contents of the baggy they found with him and had perhaps also dabbled in other substances that night as well.
The other incident was no joke.
An unidentified 20-year-old woman said she was at her cousin's baptism party at an Edinburg apartment complex last night when a man started to bother her. The woman's father -- 34-year-old LeeRoy Berrones, allegedly a known member of the Vallucos gang -- told the man to cut it out, and that was when all hell broke loose. Police say that while 28-year-old Jesus Torres held Berrones down on the ground, 27-year-old Jorge Armando Romero Martinez stabbed him eleven times in the chest, ribs and arm. Berrones later died in surgery at an area hospital.
The police said that both Torres and Martinez were illegal immigrants and members of the Texas Syndicate prison gang, but that there was no reason to believe that the three men's gang ties had anything to do with this baptismal bloodbath. The two suspects remain at large at press time.