AUSTIN - The case against an Austin police officer accused of faking his death before fleeing to Mexico may not hold up in court, legal experts familiar with the case told KVUE's and Austin American-Statesman's Tony Plohetski Monday.
The incident triggered a statewide search for Coleman Martin, 29, in late April and led to a misdemeanor charge against him.
However, questions are now arising about the strength of the case.
Officer Martin is charged with false report and under Texas law, a person commits that crime if they knowingly make a report to law enforcement that will trigger a police response.
The potential problem: Legal experts following the case point out that Martin didn't actually make the report. Instead, he's accused of sending an email to a woman who is not identified in court documents about his plan to flee the country.
According to an arrest affidavit, Martin's email to the woman said he had staged the scene by parking his vehicle by a body of water near the U.S. border with Mexico.
He then rode a bicycle for about eight miles to a convenience store, took a taxi to the border and took a bus further into Mexico, according to the email described in the affidavit.
Travis County Attorney David Escamilla, whose office is prosecuting the case, said he and other prosecutors are reviewing the case and will decide what to do next.
Meanwhile, Officer Martin's lawyer said that she is still awaiting evidence -- if there is any -- in the case. She added that Officer Martin might need the community's support more than a criminal charge against him.
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