Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Hallettsville, Texas

From the Victoria Advocate of May 31, 2006
Man will not face trial after shooting

Robert Bludau will not face trial in connection with the Jan. 22 shooting of Israel Calderon after a Lavaca County grand jury no-billed him last week.

The shooting occurred during a party at a home near the Hope community. Calderon died two days later.

District Attorney Vicki Pattillo said that under state law, a finding of "no bill" means the findings of the grand jury are not subject to open records requests.

She said that, in her opinion, the case was no-billed based on self-defense and defense of third-party issues.

The defense attorney agreed.

"I think all the evidence collected showed that the shooting was done in self-defense," said Houston Munson Jr., defense attorney. "The district attorney's office was aboveboard on everything involving the case and the presentation of the evidence collected by the Department of Public Safety, the DPS crime lab and the (Lavaca County) Sheriff's Office. After the results of the various investigations were presented, the grand jury decided to return a no bill."

Bludau, 44, of Hallettsville, was arrested the morning of Jan. 22 on a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon at his home at 598 County Road 445, where the shooting occurred.

He was released that same morning after posting $100,000 bail.

The shooting was reported to the sheriff's office around 11:40 the night before.

Calderon, 35, was in critical condition when he was transported by emergency helicopter to Wilford Hall Hospital in San Antonio. Calderon died on Jan. 24, according to the sheriff's office report.

Calderon had a Dallas address on his driver's license but had been living in Victoria.

Texas Ranger Dewayne Goll assisted in the investigation and prepared the probable cause affidavit for the arrest warrant issued for Bludau.

The affidavit stated the incident started with a call to the sheriff's office that Saturday night with the caller saying a man at the home was creating a disturbance and refused to leave. Three minutes later, the sheriff's office received a second call from the same location reporting the shooting.

Munson said his client's explanation of what happened was similar to that of the affidavit. Munson said he was told Calderon was attending a family gathering with his girlfriend, became belligerent and was asked to leave. After eventually agreeing to leave, Munson said, Calderon returned, had a knife and was threatening Bludau when the shooting occurred. Munson said both Calderon's girlfriend and Bludau's fiancée tried to restrain Calderon from attacking Bludau, but the women were pushed away just before any shots were fired.

"I have a lot of respect for Ranger Goll and how he conducts investigations and presents evidence," Munson said. "I know the investigators looked at the time frame, what evidence was collected and sent to the DPS crime lab, like ballistics reports and blood spatter patterns, and offered it to the grand jury without bias."

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