Huerta pleads guilty to manslaughter, Penalty phase slated for May 28

Special to the Press

A new court date has been set in the legal case against the man accused of taking the life of a former Port Isabel-South Padre Press reporter.

Ronnie Huerta, of Mercedes, was charged with intoxicated manslaughter and manslaughter in causing the death of long-time Port Isabel resident Elizabeth Sweeten on March 4, 2018.

On Monday, May 13, Huerta pled guilty to manslaughter, confirmed 138th District Court Coordinator Irma P. Gilman.

Huerta pleaded not guilty on November 5, 2018, and the trial against him was set to begin this past Monday. However, the presiding judge in the case, 138th District Court Judge Arturo C. Nelson, was forced to reschedule the punishment phase against Huerta for May 28.

According to Gilman, there were not enough jurors in the pool to select a jury for the penalty. Gilman said too many potential jurors were excused, leaving an insufficient number to select a panel from.

Gilman also said that the plan might be to dismiss the intoxicated manslaughter charge as part of the plea agreement made, however that is still pending.

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