EXCLUSIVE: Man accused of killing wife appears in court, more charges possible

EXCLUSIVE: Man accused of killing wife appears in court, more charges possible

29-year-old murder suspect Adrian Mata had a $1 million bond set after appearing in front of a magistrate Wednesday morning. The bond is split evenly at $500,000 each on charges of murder and aggravated assault.

Mata appeared in front of 241st District Judge Jack Skeen Jr. later in the morning and said he had friends and family working from outside the jail to hire an attorney for him.

The aggravated assault and murder charges both stemmed from the alleged shooting and later death of Mata's wife Jennifer. It was not immediately clear whether the aggravated assault charge would remain in effect following Jennifer's death.

"We're not ruling anything out at this point," Smith County District Attorney Matt Bingham said.

Later on Wednesday afternoon Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith said his investigators had confirmed a separate shooting that occurred around 8:00am Tuesday--several hours prior to Jennifer being shot. Deputies also recovered a handgun during Adrian's arrest and sent it for testing. Smith would not say whether the gun was the murder weapon.

Smith said the new information was likely to lead to additional charges against Adrian. Those charges had not been filed as of Wednesday afternoon.

Jennifer's family released the following statement regarding her death:

"[Jennifer] was a great person to be around. She loved her kids and her family. We ask that our family please have their privacy during this time. We will miss my cousin dearly. Thank you to everyone for the kind words and prayers."

Jennifer had worked as a pharmacy tech for UT Health Northeast. Her co-workers expressed their sadness over her death late Tuesday.

"We are very saddened to hear of the death of one of our UT Health Northeast family. Jennifer was a wonderful asset to our team and our hearts go out to her family," UT Health Executive Vice President Joe Woelkers said.


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