Police: Person of interest in judge’s attack held in slaying

AUSTIN, Texas — A person of interest in the wounding of a Texas judge shot last week was charged Tuesday with murder in an unrelated Houston slaying, police said.

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said Chimene Hamilton Onyeri, 28, is being held in Houston. Acevedo didn’t give details of that case and the criminal complaint wasn’t immediately available.

Acevdeo said Onyeri is a person of interest but hasn’t been charged in Friday’s “cowardly” attack on Judge Julie Kocurek, who was wounded as she arrived at her Austin home.

Her injuries were not considered life-threatening but she remained hospitalized Tuesday.

Investigators are working to establish an “affirmative link” that shows Kocurek was targeted because of her work on the bench, Acevedo said.

Travis County prosecutors filed a motion Aug. 28 seeking to have Onyeri’s probation revoked after authorities in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana, charged him with unauthorized use of a debit card. Kocurek was considering that motion.

An arrest affidavit from Onyeri’s 2012 arrest in his Travis County case shows Austin-area police charged Onyeri with fraudulent use of identifying information after police found 17 gift cards encoded with stolen bank account information during a traffic stop.

Onyeri has a criminal record dating to 2006, with offenses that include fraudulently using another person’s identity or bank cards. But he’s also been charged with unlawful possession of a weapon, marijuana possession and evading detention. He was arrested in 2008 in Harris County on a murder charge, but the Austin American-Statesman reports that the case was dismissed.

Onyeri’s attorney, Michaela Cuellar, didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

Deputy U.S. Marshal Cameron Welch told The Associated Press that Onyeri was taken into custody Monday in Houston following a traffic stop. He was being sought by officials in Lake Charles, Louisiana, on a larceny charge for allegedly stealing a vehicle.

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