Bloomington stabbing result of longtime feud between families
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The Saturday morning stabbing that left one man dead was the culmination of a longtime feud between the two men and their families, according to family members of the man charged in the death.
Fabian Lee "Pilar" Garcia, 22, was arrested and charged with felony murder on Saturday in the stabbing death of Billy Jack Baladez, 21.
Both men were Bloomington residents.
Members of the Baladez family could not be reached for comment as of Monday evening because numbers listed for the family were disconnected.
For about two years, the Baladezes have harassed Garcia and his brothers, said Garcia's older brother, Xavier Hernandez.
Hernandez said he and Garcia, the oldest two of four brothers, were repeated victims of fights and threats initiated by the Baladezes and their friends. None of the fights or threats were reported to law enforcement.
"The police are not going to do anything. They think we're all bad people," said Hernandez, 25. "We always stood tall to defend ourselves, but they would always try to get us by ourselves."
Hernandez could not or would not pinpoint an exact cause for the rift between the families other than say it was jealousy on the part of the Baladezes.
A Thursday night fight between Baladez and Garcia was the pre-cursor to the Friday night incident, the brother said.
Hernandez, who was not present during the fight, said he learned from a younger brother who was with Garcia that the defendant had received text messages from friends warning him that Baladez was looking for him.
Garcia was watching a movie at a friend's house in the 100 block of Shepley Street when Baladez and two other men showed up, said Hernandez.
The men began an argument that soon escalated into a knife fight.
About 1:09 a.m. Saturday, a neighbor called for an ambulance as residents at the scene tried to keep a wounded Baladez alive, but he did not survive.
When deputies arrived, they found Baladez with chest lacerations.
Garcia fled the scene with a knife, telling witnesses not to say anything, officials said.
Hernandez denied earlier allegations that the men were fighting over a woman, who Hernandez described as a friend of Garcia and a crush of Baladez.
Deputies found Garcia at his home in the 400 block of North Nueces Street at 4:53 a.m.
"I hate to say it, but that's what happens when people go looking for trouble," said Hernandez. "My brother is not going to plead guilty to murder. These guys went looking for him."
Hernandez said Baladez's large stature compared to Garcia's smaller frame most likely left his brother with no other options.
"He had no choice but to defend himself," said Hernandez.
Garcia stood 5 feet 8 inches and weighed 160 pounds, while Baladez stood 5 feet 6 inches and weighed 215 pounds, according to court records.
A search of court records revealed both men had criminal histories.
Baladez's criminal history included convictions in 2007 and 2009 for misdemeanor evasion of arrest/detention; a 2010 conviction for misdemeanor burglary of a vehicle; a 2007 felony conviction for theft of less than $50; and a 2008 felony conviction for unauthorized use of a vehicle.
Baladez served a combined total of almost four years in state jail, and paid $1,279 in fines, for the crimes he was charged with.
Meanwhile, Garcia's criminal history includes many traffic offenses, a citation for failure to use a sidewalk and a December arrest for possession of marijuana less than 2 ounces and possession of drug paraphernalia.
He was released on Dec. 23 on a surety bond. The case is still pending.
Hernandez said the Saturday incident occurred just as Garcia was making some life changes.
News of a second child on the way had prompted Garcia to look for a job and stay at home and out of potential trouble, Hernandez said.
"He was trying to get his life straight," his brother said.
Since Baladez's death, Hernandez said his family has been bombarded with threats of retaliation.
"We're being threatened. A brother for a brother," said Hernandez. "By whatever means necessary, I'm going to protect my family."
The Victoria County Sheriff's Office did not release any new details on the case as of Monday evening.