Herald and Review from Decatur, Illinois on August 8, 1993 · Page 8
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Herald and Review from Decatur, Illinois · Page 8

Decatur, Illinois
Issue Date:
Sunday, August 8, 1993
Page 8
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A8 NATIONWORLD Decatur, Illinois Sunday, August 8, 1993 n ei? n fn y T EI j flgJ Sift By DAVID MCLEMORE Dallas Morning News TTf it were a movie, Joey Fischer's murder would be filmed as a stylish JLmystery, with arty cam era angles and a sound track of drums and otherworldly chants. But this is no movie. Fischer, an 18-year-old honor student, a genuinely nice kid by all accounts, was gunned down in almost commonplace brutality. No music accompanied the black magic connections that led to his death in Brownsville, Texas. The retelling of the story in which a quiet doctor's wife allegedly arranged for the murder with a would-be witch in the shadowy corners of the occult is a painful reminder to this border city of dark doings. "Along the border, there is a widespread belief that occult spells can alter the course of natural events," said Dr. Tony Zavaletta, dean of liberal arts at the University of Texas at Brownsville. "People want to believe in forces that can provide health, love or revenge. Murder shakes town The story begins with a murder. On March 3, someone pumped two bullets at close range into the head and chest of Albert Joseph Fischer Jr. about 7 a.m. as the high school senior stood in the driveway of his home in the exclusive country club community of Rancho Viejo, Texas. The slaying shook Brownsville to its core. Fischer, called "Joey" by friends and family, was a straight-A student at St. Joseph's Academy, a prestigious private school attended by the children of the city's elite. He didn't use drugs, never caused trouble and had no enemies. His father, a banker-turned- businessman, and his mother, an elementary teacher, were left in their grief to struggle with the unanswerable questions: Who would want Joey dead? And why? A month later, investigators at the Cameron County Sheriff's Department supplied what they allege are the answers. 'La Curandera On the night of April 5, sheriff's investigators arrested Maria Mercedes Martinez de Sanchez, 71, at her pink frame home in a working-class neighborhood. Martinez, a native of San Luis de Potosi, Mexico, had lived in Brownsville for decades. She was known as "La Curandera" to those who paid her $5 to divine the future through a deck of tarot cards. The next morning, about 7:30, Dora Garcia Cisneros, 55, was arrested as she drove toward downtown to meet Martinez at the second-hand clothes store where Martinez held "consultations" for her occult clients. Within hours, both women stood near each other as a judge ordered them jailed without bail in the murder of Fischer. The motive, as sketched out in court, is that Cisneros sought revenge for Fischer having broken up with her 17-year-old daughter, Cristina. Later, authorities arrested an alleged conspirator, Daniel Garza, 42, a native of Mexico and sometime resident of both San Antonio and Brownsville, who was also a client of Martinez. Attorneys for the three people arrested insist that their clients are not guilty, with Cisneros' attorney saying the charges against her "make no sense at all." Finding a hitman Cameron County Sheriff Alex Perez and District Attorney Luis V. Saenz declined to elaborate on the sketchy details outlined in the portion of the grand jury indictment released July 29. According to the indictment, Cisneros, a Brownsville native married to prominent Brownsville surgeon David Cisneros for 37 years and a mother of five, asked Martinez to use her occult powers to find someone to kill Joey Fischer. Prosecutors said Cisneros gave Martinez a photo of the young man, who had broken up with her daughter, saying she would pay anyone who killed him. Garza, who had consulted frequently with Martinez for help with his love life, was told he must first help her answer a "client's" request to kill Fischer, investigators said. According to the state's case, Garza then contracted the services of two Matamoros thugs, Israel Bazaldua Cepeda, 23, and Heriberto Puentes Pizana, 20, to perform the hit for less than $500. Both men are still at large. Tony Canales, a prominent Corpus Christi, Texas, defense attorney hired by Cisneros, also declined to comment. Cristina, like Cisneros' other children, attended St. Joseph's. Since the shooting, Cristina trans-' f erred to another school. Ed Cyganiewicz, Martinez's attorney, said his client is an elderly woman with bad eyes caught up in events far beyond her understanding or control. Waiting Cyganiewicz acknowledged that Cisneros and Garza had been clients of Martinez. A week after Martinez's arrest, the court set bond for the defendants. Cisneros quickly posted a $300,000 bond and disappeared in virtual seclusion within her brick home in the upscale Hidden Valley subdivision. Garza and Martinez remain in the Cameron County Jail, unable to post bail totaling $850,000. "She's anxious to get out but she's patient," said Cyganiewicz. "She knows she'll get her day in court." VJhy shop Bergncy's for bacic-to-school? That's as easy asA-B-CWID! Think back-to-school popping is easy? It is when you shop Bergrier sc. Besides terrific prices, nobody else -" cspgrveyou the one stop selection -ana service we can Here are just a few reasons why: A. Five weeks of savings! We promise to keep our low sale prices on Children's clothing in effect everyday August 8 through September 11. So you can shop when it's convenient for you and feel confident you've found smart values! B. Great selection Right now we have the best selection of your favorite brands; in all the sizes you need and the colors you want! Plus, we have new arrivals every week to replenish our supply of the best merchandise at the best price! C. Our Kids ProirJsc We will not knowingly be undersold! If you find a lower price on identical in-stock merchandise anywhere in town, tell us about it and we'll match it. We stay true to our Kids Promise during our back-to-school sale and throughout the year! D. Hassle-free returns We know how choosy kids can be. It has to be just right. So, if it's not quite what your child had in mind, no problem! Simply bring in your receipt with your return. We'll gladly return or exchange, no questions asked. 'Guaranteed pricing does not apply to clearance items. m f A somite ttwtatfi! v;: :c?:X5i I Jl r sale f Eirmsnfi septemlia? 11 HK w ,4 I J , !' VV f" -"j : . r , r ' , " f;i:: 1AT7 -v- f . ,T DO ? Gilt with purchase! Our Back-to-School kit with notebook and three pencils. Yours with any Children's Department purchase of 25. Available while supply lasts. SHOP ALL STORES SUNDAY 12-5 EXCEPT JANESVILLE. COLONIAL VILLAGE, NORTH TOWNE, PERU 11-5; SHERIDAN VILLAGE 11-5:30; WHITE OAKS 12-5:30. MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY 10-9 EXCEPT SANGAMON CENTER 10-8, SATURDAY 8-9 EXCEPT NORTH TOWNE, SANGAMON CENTER 8-7; JANESVILLE 9-9.

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