The trial of Joseph Anthony Perez who has been charged with the murder of Ariel Fernandez was postponed December 4. Perez’s lawyer, Jesse Hernandez did not appear in court.Hernandez had filed a motion for continuance on Friday, December 1 that was denied. Jury selection for the trial was scheduled on Monday morning, December 4 at the Atascosa County Courthouse.
“The court was ready, the State was ready, you serving were ready, and I’m pretty sure the defendant is ready to get this over with as well,” said Judge Donna Rayes to a packed courtroom of jurors, lawyers and individuals awaiting to serve or have hearings. “The defense filed a motion for continuance on Friday, which was denied. The defense attorney has failed to appear in court today. Because I am now a witness to the defense lawyer’s failure to appear, another judge will conduct a show cause hearing. Thank you for your time and service this morning.”
The 81st Judicial District Court District Attorney Audrey Louis stated that Ariel’s family has been waiting for justice since the day of her death December 13, 2015. “Preparing for trial, subpoenaing witnesses, and summoning a jury panel all expend time and taxpayer money,” said Louis. “We were and remain ready to proceed and give some peace and closure to Ariel’s family. We appreciate that the jurors took their service seriously and stood ready to hear the case. We ask those called to serve to continue to take jury service seriously. We have many serious cases set for trial in the months ahead, and without jurors our criminal justice system comes to a stand still. We look forward to justice being served for Ariel and her family.”