New court dates have been set for two teenagers charged with an alleged hate crime in Woodsboro last year on Halloween night.
Noel Garcia Jr., 17, and Rance Bolcik, 17, both chose to drop their indictments scheduled for Jan.6 in the 24th District Court through their respective attorneys, according to court records.
Garcia, however, appeared at the Refugio County courthouse to request a court-appointed lawyer.
Garcia’s next hearing is set for February 10, Bolcik’s for March 17.
Court records show the teens were indicted by a Refugio County grand jury last month for allegedly assaulting a black teenage boy with a stun gun while wearing Ku Klux Klan robes.
Then, “knowing that an offense had been committed”, the teenagers would have burned the robes of the Ku Klux Klan, according to the indictment.
Garcia and Bolcik each face one count of participation in organized criminal activity and one count of tampering with evidence – two third degree felonies.
Court records also allege that the teens targeted the victim “primarily because of (their) bias or prejudice against African Americans,” which prompted the indictment to include an improvement in hate crimes.
An unidentified third person – an underage girl – was also described in the indictment as participating in the alleged crime, but was not listed in court records as having been charged. It is also not known whether the girl was arrested in connection with the incident.
Matt Manning, the attorney representing the alleged victim, told the Caller-Times he would label the minor as the “leader” of the alleged hate crime.
Manning said the girl gave orders to the teens dressed in Ku Klux Klan robes.
“There has to be a dividing line that we as a society can draw in the sand,” said Manning, former Corpus Christi city attorney and senior attorney for the Nueces County District Attorney’s office. “It can’t always be characterized as ‘these are children who are children’ or juvenile indiscretion.
“This is something that is inherently offensive and inherently hateful,” he said. “And if you choose to emulate these actions (of the Ku Klux Klan), you will not only anger people, but you will also draw important consequences from the criminal justice system.”
If found guilty, Garcia and Bolcik face two to ten years in prison.
- October 31, 2021 – A black teenage boy was reportedly shocked by a stun gun while playing with friends on Halloween night in Woodsboro by high school students dressed as members of the Ku Klux Klan.
- Beginning of November 2021 – The Woodsboro Police Department opens an investigation into the incident and enlists the help of Sinton’s Texas Rangers.
- November 9, 2021 – Woodsboro Superintendent Ronald D. Segers Jr. acknowledges the incident in a statement posted to Facebook and confirms students at Woodsboro High School are involved. Segers says the district cannot punish the students involved because the incident did not happen at a school or as a school-sponsored activity.
- November 10, 2021 – Local lawyer Matt Manning announces that he has taken on the alleged victim as a client. Manning holds a press conference in Corpus Christi to address the incident. The local NAACP chapter considers the incident a “hate crime”.
- December 16, 2021 – Noel Garcia Jr. and Rance Bolcik, 17, are indicted by a Refugio County grand jury for engaging in organized criminal activity and tampering with evidence (both third-degree) in connection with the ‘incident. The indictment includes an improvement in hate crimes and recognizes the role of an unidentified third individual in the incident. Garcia and Bolcik are arrested by Texas Rangers at Woodsboro High School.
- January 4, 2022 – Bolcik waives his scheduled appearance on January 6 in the 24th District Court through his lawyer. Bolcik’s next hearing date is set for March 17.
- January 6, 2022 – Garcia applies for a court-appointed lawyer and later waives his January 6 indictment in the 24th District Court through his appointed lawyer. Garcia’s next court date is set for February 10.
Writer Christopher Howley contributed to this story.
Kailey E. Hunt covers breaking news and public safety in South Texas. Help support more local coverage with a subscription at caller.com/subscribe.
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