Murdered Journalist’s Case Could Close

By: Mark Fitzgerald

This could be the week justice is done in the Philip True case — or that the confessed killers get away with the 1998 murder of the San Antonio Express-News Mexico City bureau chief, said the paper’s editor, Robert Rivard.

True’s decomposing body was found in a shallow grave two weeks after he disappeared hiking through a remote mountain range. Two Huichol Indians confessed to strangling the journalist, then contended they acted in self-defense, then denied ever encountering True.

The case languished until last winter when a wealthy expatriate American began funding the Huichols’ defense. On Aug. 3, Judge Jose Luis Reyes Contreras in Colotlan unexpectedly released the two, ruling True died accidentally.

“The judge has disappeared from Colotlan,” Rivard said. “The expatriate down there, Miguel Gatins … has said he’s donated $30,000 in U.S. cash to fund this defense, which [attorneys] have not accounted for to him. I’m not going to infer anything I can’t prove — but those are the facts on the ground as we know them.”

If an appeals court ruling, expected this week, upholds the judge’s decision, True’s case will be legally closed, Rivard said.

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