Judge rejects reduced bail for man accused of Kaufman County slaying

Aaron Martinez was found fatally shot in his truck just northeast of Forney. His family is calling for the killing to be investigated as a hate crime.

A judge has declined to reduce the $2 million bail of a man accused of killing a Forney rancher in a shooting the victim’s family said was a hate crime.

Trevor McEuen, 30, remains in the Kaufman County jail. He faces one count of murder, and his attorneys did not respond to a request for comment.

Kaufman County sheriff deputies found Aaron Martinez, 35, fatally shot in his truck in the 9800 block of Neal Road just northeast of Forney on May 1.

Deputies pursued McEuen who authorities said could be seen driving away from the location. A brief standoff involving SWAT officers ensued before McEuen was taken into custody.

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McEuen’s attorneys filed a request to reduce his bail May 4. The attorneys argued in court documents that McEuen’s confinement is illegal because his bail is beyond his financial means. They called the bail “excessive and oppressive.”

A judge rejected the motion Wednesday, according to KDFW-TV (Channel 4).

According to KTVT-TV (Channel 11), the Martinez family said McEuen had told them that Hispanics are not welcome in the area. Salvador Martinez, the victim’s father, said McEuen would drive past in his truck and point a gun at the family while they were working at a horse training ranch they opened over two years ago.

U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, joined the Martinez family’s calls to investigate McEuen for hate crime charges.

“Three weeks ago, Aaron Martinez was murdered in cold blood by a man who wanted to drive Hispanics out of Kaufman County.” Castro said in a written statement. “Last fall, two brothers in West Texas gunned down a group of migrants and were never indicted. Texas is becoming a dangerous place for Hispanics because state and local authorities refuse to take our safety seriously.

“If Kaufman County authorities continue to drag their feet on filing hate crimes charges against Trevor McEuen, federal prosecutors need to step in to ensure that justice is served.”

Castro said in an interview that allowing the West Texas shooting to go unprosecuted sets a dangerous precedent for crimes targeting Hispanic people in the state.

“Especially a community that is a plurality in Texas; it’s 40% of the state,” he said.

The Kaufman County Sheriff’s Office referred questions about hate crime charges to federal authorities. The FBI did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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