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CCPD meets with Nueces County DA to talk murder case dismissal

Officials say better policies will be adopted
Posted at 6:08 PM, Dec 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-20 19:08:10-05

CORPUS CHRISTI  — On Tuesday, Corpus Christi police officials met with the Nueces County District Attorney’s Office to talk about charges that were dropped against Jared Naranjo, a man charged with shooting and killing Frederick Rice in July 2020.

According to court documents, the case was dismissed because of a Brady violation. The prosecution failed to turn over all evidence to Naranjo’s defense team.

“You can’t withhold evidence that you don’t even know exists and that’s what happened here,” CCPD Assistant Chief Todd Green said. “Unfortunately, there was miscommunication between two departments in our department. Two separate divisions. Two separate investigators.”

Green said there was evidence stored on a cell phone that wasn’t turned into the district attorney’s office on time and the mistake was on CCPD’s end. But, they have come up with solutions to make sure it never happens again.

“We have a draft policy that we’ve come up with,” Green said. “It’ll be an internal policy with the police department but we are going to share that with the district attorney’s office and have them look at it and make sure that we’ve covered everything effectively.”

During a Facebook live on his page on December 16, district attorney Mark Gonzalez gave his condolences to the Rice family and apologized for Naranjo sitting in jail as long as he did. Gonzalez said the evidence on the phone corroborated a self-defense claim.

He also said his office is still responsible for evidence they don’t know about.

“It is an inexcusable mistake on our part,” Green said. “But, it wasn’t anything that was done intentionally in order to try to put somebody in prison that shouldn’t go to prison.”

KRIS 6 reached out to Gonzalez about the meeting with CCPD but he has not gotten back.

The dismissal in the 148th district court means that Naranjo cannot be tried again.