Paul David Andrews, Corpus Christi and San Antonio solo, jail mug (Courtesy of the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office)
An attorney was arrested and charged with criminal solicitation of capital murder for an alleged “murder for hire” plot targeting a woman who filed a civil suit and police report alleging the lawyer committed barratry.
The alleged plot came to light when one of Paul Andrews’ current clients informed the Bexar County Criminal District Attorney’s Office that Andrews tried to hire the client to kill MaryAnn Uribe, a witness in a felony barratry case against Andrews and the plaintiff who sued him civilly, according to an Aug. 20 complaint attached to the warrant of arrest in Texas v. Andrews, filed in Bexar County district court.
The complaint said that Andrews allegedly offered to pay his client for the “murder” by reducing Andrews’ attorney fees in the client’s racial discrimination lawsuit.
Andrews was arrested Aug. 20 in Corpus Christi after an investigation by the D.A.’s office and the Texas Rangers, said a Bexar County D.A.’s statement.
He was booked into the Bexar County Jail on Aug. 21, said a Bexar County Central Magistrate Search record.
Demetrio Duarte Jr. & Associates owner Demetrio Duarte Jr., who represents Andrews, didn’t return a call seeking comment. Neither did Cliff Herberg, first assistant district attorney in the Bexar County Criminal D.A.’s Office.
Murder for Hire
Texas Ranger Keith Pauska is the affiant for the complaint attached to the warrant of arrest.
The Bexar County D.A.’s office requested Pauska’s assistance on Aug. 11. Andrews’ client in a race discrimination lawsuit contacted a Bexar County D.A. investigator. The client met with Pauska and D.A. investigators on Aug. 12 and said that three to four weeks earlier, Andrews approached him “in reference to killing a former employee.”
The client “stated when he met with Andrews, that Andrews told him about a former employee identified as Uribe who was suing him and who was also a witness against him in a case involving the district attorney’s office. While explaining this to [the client], Andrews indicated he would not mind if Uribe was run over by a car or killed,” said the complaint.
Andrews told the client that Uribe “was a racist and did not like black people” in order to make the client “upset at Uribe.”
Andrews provided the client with a letter by a former coworker that described Uribe as a racist; a photo of Uribe from Facebook; and a tax record that showed Uribe’s home address, said the complaint.
At first, the client “agreed to kill Uribe for Andrews.” But later he thought about it, “and felt that it was wrong for Andrews to approach him about the murder.”
While meeting with Pauska and the D.A. investigators, the client called Andrews and set up a meeting “to discuss the details of killing Uribe and payment.”
On Aug. 18, the client wore a recorder and met with Andrews at his San Antonio law office.
“During the meeting, Andrews indicated he still wanted something to happen to Uribe and confirmed with [the client] that he did not have a way to pay [the client] for killing her without leaving a paper trail,” said the complaint.
Andrews offered to cut his attorney fees from the client’s settlement from 40 percent to 20 percent.
The charge, “criminal solicitation of a capital felony” under Texas Penal Code §15.03, is a first-degree felony that carries a five-to-99-year jail sentence and a fine up to $10,000.
Andrews, a Corpus Christi and San Antonio solo, was indicted for felony barratry on May 29, along with fellow Corpus Christi and San Antonio solo Keith Gould. Their identical indictments allege that the lawyers paid or offered to pay money to three people to solicit cases from potential clients. One of those people was Uribe.
Previously, Bexar County Assistant D.A. Trey Banack told Texas Lawyer that the criminal barratry case originated from the San Antonio Police Department and that Uribe had filed the police report.
Uribe’s ongoing civil barratry lawsuit against both Andrews and Gould alleged that Uribe was a former employee and that she “was presented with a written contract” in October 2011, which included a provision offering to pay her 15 percent of attorney fees if her actions brought in clients. Uribe alleges that she refused to sign, and the defendants “wrongfully terminated” her.
William R. “Bill” Edwards Sr. represents Uribe in the civil case.
“She is very upset by it. I mean, terribly upset,” said Edwards.
Edwards noted that he’s practiced law for 56 years, and nothing like this has ever happened to him.
“It is a little unnerving. That kind of thing hits close to home,” he said.
Edwards, who has worked for decades to strengthen barratry laws, said the new allegations against Andrews underscore that people should take barratry seriously.
“Barratry is criminal. It’s a serious crime under our state statutes and under our disciplinary rules, and people who engage in this kind of conduct are criminals, and one thing leads to another. You never know where it’s going,” he said.