AUSTIN (KXAN) — Three men who federal investigators say were part of a detailed fraud and racketeering scheme who set out to kill Judge Julie Kocurek have been indicted by a federal grand jury; two are in custody and the third is considered armed and dangerous.
The indictment identified Chimene Onyeri, who has already been named as a suspect, 26-year-old Marcellus Antoine Burgin of Cypress, Texas and 24-year-old Rasul Kareem Scott of Marrera, Louisiana as suspects in the plot to kill Judge Kocurek.
Onyeri and Scott are currently in federal custody. Burgin is still on the run in Houston and is considered to be armed and dangerous. He fled from police Friday morning after a chase that ended with a crash A $5,000 reward is being offering for information leading to his arrest. Anyone with information about Burgin is asked to call 713-222-TIPS or the FBI San Antonio Field Office at 210-225-6741.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the trio were operating a multi-level fraud and racketeering scheme involving mail fraud, bribery of a public official, wire fraud, document fraud, access device fraud and money laundering as well as offenses involving murder. The indictment says Onyeri and his co-conspirators were stealing personally identifiable information by paying off people with access to the victims’ information and filing tax returns in the victims’ names and then bribing mail carriers to provide addresses that could be used to intercept the tax refund checks.
The three also captured credit card numbers using skimmers in the Houston area. The indictment alleges Onyeri would pay Houston retail workers to allow him to install a skimmer device at the stores and would hand over the numbers to load onto gift cards. They used those numbers to buy iPads and sell them for cash.
Onyeri and Burgin were initally arrested when they were stopped for speeding in Rollingwood, Texas. In their car, officers discovered a credit card reader and more than 70 gift cards. Onyeri was arrested on fraud charges and was set to go before Judge Kocurek.
The indictment goes on to say:
When the existence of the enterprise was threatened, ONYERI, MARCELLUS ANTOINE BURGIN, and RASUL KAREEM SCOTT responded with violence. ONYERI, MARCELLUS ANTOINE BURGIN and RASUL KAREEM SCOTT travelled to Austin, Texas, in order to kill Judge Julie Kocurek, a Texas District Court Judge whom ONYERI believed was going to sentence ONYERI to prison.
16. ONYERI, MARCELLUS ANTOINE BURGIN and RASUL KAREEM SCOTT used a gift card purchased with a skimmed, stolen debit card number to pay for expenses related to the attempted murder of Judge Kocurek. ONYERI, MARCELLUS ANTOINE BURGIN and RASUL KAREEM SCOTT attempted to kill Judge Kocurek outside her home in Austin,
Texas by shooting Judge Kocurek while she sat inside of her car on the evening of November 6,2015.” Read the rest of the indictment
Conspiracy to murder a judge
“This multi-agency investigation uncovered a diabolical scheme that went from multi-faceted fraud to an attempt on the life of a State judicial officer,” said United States Attorney Richard L. Durbin, Jr.
Ambushed in her own driveway in the middle of the night, Judge Kocurek remembers sitting in her vehicle with her family around 10:30 p.m. on Nov. 6, 2015. She recalls rapid gunfire and the sound of shattered glass bursting through the windshield. While recovering from her injuries in the hospital, an infection cost her an index finger.
Four months after the shooting, Judge Kocurek put on her black judicial robe and walked into a courtroom greeted by a round of applause from a room full of attorneys, judges, police officers and others who wanted to wish her well.
A Travis County judge tells KXAN they still don’t feel safe getting in and out of the court house.
The judge, who declined to speak on camera, complains of several security problems.
We tried unsuccessfully to reach any of the other current sitting judges to get their comments on courthouse security.
Visiting Judge Jon Wisser, who regularly presides over cases, did speak with us. He says security is definitely tighter since the shooting.
“You leave the courthouse, usually an armed officer escorts you. Even in the criminal building where the judges park right beneath in a secure parking facility, an officer rides down in the elevator with you and walks to your car in the parking garage,” Wisser said. “In the morning they have officers stationed at the garage door so no one can follow you in. So I think the security is much more obvious and much more intensive than it was before.”
There are plans in the works for guard stations outside where the judges now enter various parking areas.