The man believed to be responsible for the murder of an Alice Police Department officer is now closer to being brought to justice.
It was Dec. 1, 1974, when Officer Matt Murphy was gunned down in the course of a routine traffic stop. On Monday, the Alice police chief announced that they plan to charge the man who has reportedly admitted responsibility for the crime.
However, former coworkers of the victim said the crime could have been solved decades ago.
"It took us 43 years," Chief Rex Ramon said. "December 1st, it will be 43 years, but I think we're in the right direction."
Surrounded by fellow law enforcement officers Monday, Ramon said 70-year-old Roberto Lopez will be charged with capital murder.
"This past Wednesday myself, Ranger Moots and Seargent Perez flew to Alabama where we made contact with Roberto Lopez, at which time we served him with a warrant," Ramon said.
The chief said they spoke to Lopez about the case and the ongoing investigation.
"He remembered the statement he gave 20 plus years ago," Ramon said.
The statement Lopez made was that he remembered bragging while in prison about shooting and killing a "narc" named Murphy. He even remebered the weapon, a .22 caliber pistol.
In the audience during Monday's announcement were former coworkers of Officer Murphy, including the first responding officers on the fateful night he was gunned down.
Kenneth Helms and Henry Garza decribed the scene of the crime as savage, seeing their coworker on the ground bleeding to death.
"I went up to him and like I said, lifted his head," said Helms, a former detective for the Alice Police Department. "He was trying to say something, but he expired on me. He expired and I wasn't going to let him lay there like a dead dog."
"To me he was set up," Garza said.
Garza and Helms said Murphy had just been reassigned to the patrol division. Before that, he had worked undercover. The former officers believe it was a setup because of a statement made by a woman known to them only as Barbara, who was interviewed for allegedly hurting a child. Helms said Barbara wanted to cut a deal.
"Barbara said, 'Okay, will y'all give me a break if I tell y'all what happened to Matt?'" Helms said. "I said damn right."
Helms said Barbara was released and was not anywhere to be found after the interview. He said he has shared this information before and hopes it was used.
"I respect the Alice Police Department," Helms said. "They got all the tools they need now. Not then."
The District Attorney plans to present the case to a Grand Jury as soon as the investigation is complete.
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