Murder suspect has loooooong rap sheet

In Hidalgo County, how many arrests does it take to really lock up a convict?

The story of murder suspect Felicano Flores Avalos, Jr. is going to take some digging – talking to District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez, former DA Rene Guerra, law enforcement – because after taking a look at his rap sheet, which includes 33 criminal charges filed against him that occurred over the span of approximately 13 years, the question is: Why was this man still walking the streets when he allegedly murdered a man this past weekend?

Avalos was charged Sunday (April 22, 2018) with the stabbing death of a man who police have yet to identify (as of 4-24-18). His bond has been set at $1 million, and he remains behind bars at the county jail.

With regard to Feliciano Avalos, Jr., his rap sheet includes being charged with 33 crimes dating back to August 2005, of which four were classified as felonies, including two charges of assaulting a police officer.

According to a confidential Pharr police source, Avalos is well known to the department. Neighbors in the northeast area of the city where he lives (3400 block of N. Mezcal) have complained about his behavior to police on more than 50 occasions, but because his alleged abhorrent behavior was conducted on his own property, police could do nothing. Neighbors’ complaints included Avalos allegedly walking around in his yard in boxer shorts, swearing, throwing bottles, and basically causing a disturbance.

Approximately half of the 33 crimes for which Avalos, Jr. was charged took place while Rene Guerra was district attorney; the remainder, after Ricardo Rodriguez assumed the role of Hidalgo County DA. Not all of the 33 are stand-alone crimes, meaning they are tied to other related cases.

The crimes for which Avalos was charged, dating back to 2005, include: criminal mischief, DWI (twice), possession of marijuana (approximately 10 times), terroristic threat (four times including threats of aggravated assault and murder), assaulting a police officer (twice – McAllen and Pharr), resisting arrest, assaulting a family member (three times), theft of property, and resisting arrest.

Of the 33 criminal charges, all of the four felony cases landed in Noe Gonzalez’s 370th state District Court. The remaining misdemeanors were spread across three county Courts-at-Law: Numbers 2 (Judge Jay Palacios), 4 (Judge Fred Garza), and 5 (Judge Arnoldo Cantu, Jr.).

When Avalos was arrested Sunday and charged with murder, he was free on bail with five misdemeanors still staring him in the face: a DWI, resisting arrest, marijuana possession, public intoxication, and two charges of making a terroristic threat. In all of his cases, he has been represented by a public defender.

He has also had his bond revoked twice for failure to appear in court at the appointed time.

To find out why Avalos, Jr. has never served any serious prison time, or so it appears without further digging into court records, which takes more time than is available to write this story, just one case helps to tell the story.

On Aug. 5, 2016, Pharr police arrested Avalos and charged him with threatening to kill two people.

The problem began, according to sworn affidavits, when one of Avalos’s neighbors, a woman, asked him to please be quiet and show some respect. At the time, she said she was outside watering her yard, and the suspect had been yelling at her throughout the day, using profane language in the process. After she asked Avalos to quit yelling at her, he allegedly broke a beer bottle, walked toward her, and held the jagged edge of the bottle against her neck and told her that he would kill her.

A male neighbor witnessed the event, and signed a sworn affidavit to that effect. When he tried to intervene, and offer the woman some protection, Avalos allegedly took some offense to the intervention. He turned toward the man, according to the affidavit, pointed the jagged-edged beer bottle in his direction and said, “I’ll kill you and your family.” At that point, another neighbor who knew Avalos came running over and was able to talk him into going back inside his house. Police were called, and Feliciano Avalos was arrested and charged with making two terroristic threats.

After his arrest, the defense attorney – in this case, the J. Roel Garcia Law Office in Pharr – started working the case. According to Avalos’s defense team, the Pharr PD had no probable cause to arrest him; it wanted all the evidence suppressed because it had been seized without a warrant or probable cause; all of the statements given by Avalos were a violation of the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution; and any statements made about the defendant’s alleged crimes would also be a violation of his rights.

Approximately four months later, Feliciano Avalos, Jr., pleaded no contest (Nolo Contendre), and he was set free after serving 33 days in county jail, which corresponded to his exact sentence.

More Problems

Avalos’s charge of assaulting a police officer in January of 2017 was finally adjudicated in March of 2018 in the 370th state District Court. For that offense, for which a pre-sentence investigation was not done, he again pleaded no contest and was handed a three-year probated sentence with supervision after the DA’s office and the public defender’s office entered into a plea agreement.

The probation agreement may have proven of interest to the court if a pre-sentence investigation had been conducted, which would have uncovered the fact that back in 2011, such an agreement fell apart. Avalos, then charged with assaulting a family member, failed to live up to the conditions of his probation, an arrest warrant was issued, and he was sentenced to two years in state prison, which was set to begin in late 2011. Public access to the state prison records are not readily available, so it’s unclear whether or not he actually reported to state prison, but by January 2013, Avalos was already penning a letter to Judge Noe Gonzalez asking him to waive the monetary fine leveled against him so that he could get a driver’s license.

In 2012, when he was (based on court records) supposed to be in state prison, Avalos was arrested by the Pharr PD on Christmas Eve and charged with possession of marijuana. He had a driver’s license, but no insurance. When the police officer asked Avalos Jr. if he had anything illegal in the vehicle, according to the police report, he said, “Yes, a little marijuana for personal use.” At the time, he had an outstanding warrant for a parole violation.

In his January 2013 letter sent to Judge Gonzalez, Avalos failed to mention the 2012 Christmas holidays.

For that pot-possession violation, a pre-sentencing investigation was again waived (County Court-at-Law #2). He was sentenced in January 2013 to 20 days, and received credit for the 17 days he had already served.

Based on court records, it appears that Feliciano Avalos, Jr. kept his head down for about two years before he was back in the same court in January of 2015, standing before Judge “Jay” Palacios, charged, again, with pot possession (less than two ounces). For his crime, he was sentenced to four days in the county jail and given credit for the four days already served.

There were more arrests for pot possession in 2015 and 2016, which included a charge for resisting arrest and assault of a public servant; a DWI charge, also in 2016; two terroristic threat charges (2018); all of which led Feliciano Avalos, Jr. to where he is today: in the Hidalgo County jail charged with murder.

Questions, questions, questions.

Advance Publishing Company

217 W. Park Avenue
Pharr, TX 78577
Phone: 956-783-0036
Fax: 956-787-8824