Sierra Martin | Managing Editor
San Marcos Corridor News is back to bring you a special edition of the Corridor Weekly News Recap. This week, we will share with you some of the biggest stories in Hays County so far in 2022.
San Marcos Family Law Attorney Art Guzman has sued his former paralegal Ashley Szymonek and her husband for assault and battery, invasion of privacy, libel and slander, common law fraud conversion and breach of contract.
Guzman pressed criminal charges against Szymonek after being in a coma for several days due to poisoning from antifreeze and discovered her complex plan to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from him, get him disbarred and make it appear that he committed suicide.
Two candidates that were running for Hays County Judge in the primary election are in a legal battle. The lawsuits emerged over allegations of spreading slanderous rumors and an altercation that occurred during an MLK memorial celebration in front of the Hays County Courthouse in January.
Former Hays County Judge Candidate Brandon Burleson has sued current Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra, who is seeking re-election for spreading defamatory statements. Burleson’s grandmother is petitioning for a Temporary Restraining order from Becerra’s wife due to the verbal argument during the MLK celebration that led to her emotional distress.
In early January, Daemon Garcia, a 19-year-old from San Marcos, was arrested with 13 other people on criminal charges for their alleged involvement in fentanyl distribution in the Austin area. If convicted, Garcia faces up to life in prison. Several suspects were from the area, including Lockhart and Austin.
Hays County Judge Ruben Becerra has been fined $500 for his third campaign finance violation since 2016. The Texas Ethics Commission met on Dec. 8, 2021, to consider a complaint filed that Becerra didn’t report campaign finances by the deadline set by election code regulating political funds and campaign finances.
On February 21, San Marcos Police Officers were dispatched to 209 South C.M. Allen Parkway near Rio Vista Park. Officers responded to the location and found that 16-year-old, Letzy Jaramillo had been struck and killed by an oncoming train. Initial reports from witnesses at the scene indicate that Jaramillo was crossing over the railroad tracks while looking at her phone when the incident occurred.
Officers from the Kyle Police Department arrested Hays CISD Blanco Elementary School second grade teacher Andrew Palmore on Tuesday, March 1, 2022. According to the Kyle Police Department, following an exhaustive investigation by law enforcement officers, Palmore was charged with two counts of Indecency with a Child, a third-degree felony, and two counts of Improper Relationship between an Educator and Student, a second-degree felony.
In the early morning hours of February 26, Hays County Sheriff’s Office deputies were dispatched to a residence in Wimberley regarding an abandoned 911 call and welfare concern. During their investigation, deputies located a deceased female inside the residence, identified as Sara Kuenzli. Deputies arrested Sara’s son Jeremiah Kuenzli for murder.
City Council voted to approve the appointment of attorney Julia Gannaway to represent the City of San Marcos in the appeal filed by Sergeant Ryan Hartman. Hartman was suspended indefinitely in January by SMPD Chief Stan Standridge due to “sustained misconduct related to dereliction of duty and insubordination.”
Hartman filed an appeal requesting an arbitrator to set aside his indefinite suspension and reinstate him to employment in the San Marcos Police Department with back pay and benefits.
According to open records requests obtained by Corridor News, Hartman failed to turn in incident reports under the required time limit for San Marcos Police Officers. Incident reports for crimes including murder, officer-involved shootings and intoxicated manslaughter.
Hays County’s COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance program had lost an additional $1.7M in federal grant funding on Feb. 10, from not hitting the targeted milestones in the distribution set by the U.S. Treasury Department. To date, the Hays County ERA program has lost nearly $2.5 million of the $6.9 million ERA1 Grant from the U.S. Treasury Department.
On Monday, January 24, the San Marcos Police Department received an official report from Hays County District Attorney Wes Mau regarding an investigation into the shooting involving SMPD officers that occurred on April 10, 2021, and resulted in the death of 31-year-old Rescue Eram.
A Grand Jury determined there were inadequate grounds for prosecution of the two San Marcos Police officers involved and an internal investigation concluded the officers’ actions followed department policy.
Former Texas State University Police Chief Laurie Clouse resigned from her position in June 2021 after an investigation was opened into her treatment of an employee. Clouse resigned when the investigation concluded and is now claiming the university is retaliating against her for bringing to light Clery Act violations.
The San Marcos Police Department investigated an aggravated robbery at the Fuego Tortilla Grill off of I-35 in San Marcos on January 5. Police were able to arrest the two suspects after a high-speed pursuit.
According to SMPD, Lyndsey Garza and Emily Gonzalez, entered the restaurant, fired a weapon, and demanded money before fleeing in a vehicle and leading officers on a chase that reached speeds up to 94 mph.
More information on these stories and other news and events happening around Hays County can be found on our website.