Just under a year after he was indicted on murder charges in the death of of a 5-year-old Denison child in 2017, Antonio Prado was sort of back in a Grayson County courtroom Wednesday.
Prado appeared in the court via ZOOM as the court, and all others in Texas, continue to deal with social distancing requirements amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The purpose of the hearing Wednesday was a motion filed by Prado's new attorney Rick Dunn that sought to suppress a statement Prado made to police in Houston about the shooting for which he was charged in Grayson County.
In August of 2019, Prado was indicted on one count of murder and two counts each of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, deadly conduct discharge of a fire arm, injury child with intent and abandon and endanger a child/criminal negligence. Those indictments came just days after Prado was located and apprehended in Mexico by the U.S. Marshals Service and was transferred to the Grayson County Jail.
Prado, Sabrina Nino and Ryan Clay have each been charged with capital murder for their alleged role in the death of Kason Powell and for critically injuring an 11-year-old child. The three are accused of firing into a home on Nov. 19, 2017 after a botched drug deal with an older relative of the victim.
In court on Wednesday, Dunn said it was his client's understanding that Nino and Clay have each been offered a plea deal that would cap their sentences at 50 years. Dunn said his client was not told about those plea offers. He also said his client was threatened by a gang that if he didn't confess to the crime, his family would be hurt. And that threat was the reason behind his statements to police so they wanted those statements excluded from the trial.
Grayson County Assistant District Attorney Kerye Ashmore said the hearing Wednesday was the first he was hearing about any threats. However, he said he could say that the only plea offer given to Nino or Clay was the chance to take a plea of guilty to murder to the judge and see the sentence the judge would give them. Ashmore said Prado's previous attorney Joe Smith had been advised about those offers and Ashmore assumed that information was in the files that were presumably turned over to Dunn when he took over the case.
Prado indicated that he wanted to speak with his attorney and when that conversation was concluded, Dunn asked that the suppression hearing be rescheduled for a later date to give him more time to talk with his client.
The judge agreed and the hearing ended.
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