- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 6, 2016

HOUSTON (AP) - A man charged in a Houston-area fatal shooting is the lone suspect in the wounding of a judge in Austin who oversaw his probation in a 2012 fraud case, a prosecutor said Wednesday.

Chimene Onyeri is being held in a Houston jail on a murder charge, which is unrelated to the Nov. 6 shooting of state District Judge Julie Kocurek, who was wounded outside her home.

At a bond hearing Wednesday on the murder charge, Harris County prosecutor Justin Keiter said Onyeri, 28, is “the prime and only suspect” in the shooting of Kocurek, who was released from a hospital last month.

But Onyeri has not been charged in the shooting of Kocurek, defense attorney Samuel Adamo said, adding that Onyeri feels he is being “railroaded” for crimes he didn’t commit.

“They didn’t offer you any evidence about the proof in their case. It tells me that they don’t have a lot of proof,” in the shooting of Kocurek, Adamo said.

Keiter declined to comment after the hearing. Austin Police Department spokeswoman Cpl. Angel Polansky said the case is still under investigation and declined further comment.

Onyeri’s bond was set at $1 million for the May 18 fatal shooting of 31-year-old Jacobi Demon Alexander at a Houston-area apartment complex.

During Wednesday’s hearing, Onyeri’s father, Innocent Onyeri, testified his son was at home in Houston on the night Kocurek was shot.

In court documents that were unsealed last month, Austin police said Manuel Fuentes, an investigator with the Travis County District Attorney’s Office, had been told by a woman named Farrell White that she had learned that Chimene Onyeri had told others that he had planned to kill a Travis County judge and later bragged about doing so.

Adrian West, a friend of Onyeri’s, testified that White was his cousin. He also said she told him she had lied to investigators and that she and her uncle were “plotting to send Chimene to jail” over “some money issues.”

West testified that White had been dating Onyeri and she was angry about their breakup.

Keiter described Onyeri as dangerous and an identity thief who was recently indicted in Louisiana on racketeering charges related to a credit card fraud scheme. Kocurek had been considering a motion filed on Aug. 28 seeking to have Onyeri’s probation revoked because of the Louisiana case.

Onyeri has a criminal record dating to 2006, with offenses that include fraudulently using another person’s identity or bank cards. He’s also been charged with unlawful possession of a weapon, marijuana possession and evading detention. He was arrested in 2008 in Harris County on a murder charge that was later dismissed.

In 2012, Onyeri was charged in Travis County and later convicted of fraudulent use of identifying information after police found 17 gift cards encoded with stolen bank account information during a traffic stop.

Kocurek’s family has said she intends to run for re-election to the 390th District Court. The former prosecutor was appointed to the court by then-Gov. George W. Bush and has been Travis County’s presiding felony judge since 1999.


Follow Juan A. Lozano on Twitter at www.twitter.com/juanlozano70

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